CHRIS THOMAS – A new national certification program ensures that recyclers properly dispose of items such as laptops, televisions and cell phones. According to the Basel Action Network (BAN), a toxic-waste watchdog group, the oversight is necessary for what’s become an international environmental nightmare.
PETER BERGEL: â€œWhere there is no vision, the people perishâ€ says the King James Bible in Proverbs 29:18. Certainly the people are in danger of perishing today. If not from wars and nuclear weapons, then from global warming. If not from that, then from a series of other threats. Could vision be what rescues us?
PETER BERGEL: Helping you and encouraging you to cut your carbon footprint is a major purpose of OPWâ€™s 5% Solution to the Climate Crisis project. In addition to the information provided in this PeaceWorkerâ€™s focus topic articles, you will find a great deal more about this subject on OPWâ€™s website, www.oregonpeaceworks.org. On our homepage, click the 5% Solution link.
NANCY HEDRICK: Recent activism and awareness-building events around the Israel-Palestine issue and the ongoing siege in Gaza are in contrast with an unfortunate vote in Congress to support belligerent actions by Israel once again.
PETER BERGEL: The Great Getaway Raffle, OPWâ€™s annual fundraiser in which 5 awesome vacation packages are raffled off to ticket holders all over the state is under way. Tickets are currently available at $1 each.
PETER BERGEL: On November 9, a delegation organized by Oregon PeaceWorks met with Oregonâ€™s 5th District congressional representative Kurt Schrader. On the agenda were the wars in the Middle East, global warming and health care. The meeting included representatives from OPW, Veterans for Peace, 1000 Friends of Oregon, Fellowship of Reconciliation and Physicians for Social Responsibility.
PETER BERGEL: On the surface things look pretty grim. The chances for any kind of meaningful world peace seem remote. The environment is terribly degraded and seems to be retaliating with global climate change â€ probably the worst crisis the human race has ever confronted. The economic system is in the toilet and may not recover. People are hurting everywhere Ã¢â‚¬â€ from poverty, disease, war, racism, renewed threats to liberty and despair. And yetÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ amazing currents are flowing all over the planet, washing in a harvest of hope that so far has not captured the notice of the mainstream media.
PETER BERGEL: I have recently become increasingly critical of the strategy and tactics that have guided the peace movement for the last decade or more. The dangers that threaten the human race have multiplied rapidly, even as our ability to address them has weakened, yet we continue to invest the bulk of our resources in approaches that are not working â€” exactly the error we regularly criticize the military and the government for making. It is time â€” past time â€” for a major strategic overhaul based on a broad peace vision.
PETER BERGEL: Response to OPW’s call for better peace movement strategy has been warm. What’s it all about? Read my editorial (include link here) in this month’s PeaceWorker or visit OPW’s blog at http://oregonpeaceworks.org/wordpress/?cat=4.
PETER BERGEL: $700 billion is a number that rings a bell for most Americans these days. It was the first installment U.S. taxpayers were forced to pony up for Wall Street to “stimulate”Â the economy. But, according to analyst Don Monkrude, that sum is also, coincidentally, the amount by which the 400 richest Americans increased their net worth during the Bush years.
PETER BERGEL: The peace movement in the United States has had few new ideas for decades. We are still using the main organizing tools we used in the 60s and before: demonstrating, educating, lobbying and electioneering. Occasionally we also engage in civil resistance direct actions to halt something particularly egregious. Most of these approaches are drawing less support than they used to (with the notable exception of the School of the Americas protests each fall at Ft. Benning, GA).
PETER BERGEL: In the past half year we have come to realize that our economic system is a lot more vulnerable than we thought, and that economic threats can come from directions most of us had never considered. While our government obsesses about terrorists of the Al Qaeda variety, we have recently been shown that an economic terrorist can attack us right where we live without firing a shot or awakening the retaliatory frenzy that 9-11 unleashed. Once again, we see that, as a nation, we are incapable of recognizing the real threats to our national security. Only threats that can be met by military force are deemed worthy of our attention. When a threat does get our attention, we respond with a “War on”Â something â€” drugs, terror, poverty, hunger â€” although that military approach has been shown over and over to be ineffective and even counter-productive.
PETER BERGEL: I am deeply distressed to see no mention at all of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, nor any explanation as to why you supported the supplemental request for still more war funding.
The OPW Board has decided to continue to produce a printed PeaceWorker for at least two more quarterly issues (Sept and Dec/Jan), but it will only be available to those willing to pay for it, either by subscribing at $15/year or by making a donation of $15 or more to Oregon PeaceWorks. However, both subscribers and non-subscriber can access every issue (monthly, except August and January) on this website, which will continue to improve over the next few months.