Category: News

CBS News covers climate change front and center at UN General Assembly 2019 – Karenna Gore contributes

Climate Change Front and Center at UN General Assembly 2019

Originally published on CBSNews.com.  September 17, 2019

CBS News’ Pamela Falk covers the Climate Crisis ahead of the UN Climate Summit.  CBS has joined 250 news sources committed to a week of climate coverage – Climate Coverage Now.

“There is good reason why most world leaders consistently identify it as the preeminent and central challenge for humanity in our time,” Karenna Gore, director of the Center for Earth Ethics at the Colombia University-affiliated Union Theological Seminary, told CBS News.

recent CBS News Poll found that a majority of Americans say action needs to be taken right now to address climate change. Most consider it to be at least a “serious problem” — including more than a quarter who say it is a “crisis.”

The U.N.’s Climate Action Summit begins on September 23, and is expected to be a forum to hold countries accountable to the international commitments they made to cut global warming as part of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

That summit will be preceded by the Youth Climate Summit — a gathering of young global climate campaigners who have organized worldwide demonstrations this year. They’re calling for another “global climate strike” this Friday, with 800 events planned in the U.S. alone and corresponding rallies around the world.

The “climate strike” initiative was sparked by teen activist Greta Thunberg, who first made news last year with her solitary strike against climate change in her native Sweden. Since then she has been joined by millions of supporters rallying in more than 150 countries. She told “CBS This Morning” last week that she hopes world leaders will “step out of their comfort zones to prevent the worst consequences from happening.”

“Climate change threatens to undo the last 50 years of progress in development, global health, and poverty reduction,” U.N. Special Rapporteur Philip Alston told diplomats recently, warning that “it could push more than 120 million more people into poverty by 2030 and will have the most severe impact in poor countries, regions, and the places poor people live and work.”

Read more…

Reorienting Humanity toward Nature: Eco-ministry is the great work of our time

Originally Published Tuesday, Feb 26, 2019 by Teachers College Newsroom

It seems fair to say that Karenna Gore knows as well as anyone that elective politics can be arduous, gridlocked and ultimately disappointing. Also that she’s got a bit of a family connection to the issue of climate change.

So Gore’s current job, directing a nonprofit called The Center for Earth Ethics, isn’t surprising. That the Center is based at Union Theological Seminary, however, bears more reflection.

“I actually never intended to work in climate change,” Gore, who toiled for her father’s campaign in the contested 2000 presidential election, told a rapt audience during a talk she gave at Teachers College’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute Winter Intensive in January. But the year she started work at Union – initially directing its Forum conference and lecture series – the United Nations held a summit on climate at which then Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, lamenting the inability of governments to act, called on civil society to mobilize on the issue. Gore, who had earned a master’s degree at Union in 2013, realized that interfaith dialogue could tap a powerful source of motivation – particularly if it reached beyond the typical focus on just Christianity, Judaism and Islam – and convened her own “Religions for the Earth” conference at Union.

Humanity has to reorient itself toward nature, and many indigenous ceremonies occur in a natural setting. Yet these faiths are often disrespected, which says a lot about why we’re at this pass with the environment.”

— Karenna Gore

“Humanity has to reorient itself toward nature, and many indigenous ceremonies occur in a natural setting,” she said. “Yet these faiths are often disrespected, which says a lot about why we’re at this pass with the environment.”

Gore quoted the late theologian and civil rights advocate Howard Thurman’s observation that “One of the deceptive aspects of mind in man is to give him the illusion of being distinct from and over against but not a part of nature,” and that this conceit enables him not only to exploit the natural environment but “plunder it, and rape it with impunity,” becoming “more and more… alien on the earth and fouler of his own nest.”

Citing a 1967 paper by the Princeton historian Lynn Townsend White, “The Roots of Our Ecological Crisis,” Gore said that the victory of Christianity over paganism was a critical turning point in humanity’s co-existence with nature.

UNEXPECTED PATH Gore didn't plan to work in climate change, but the UN's call to the civil sector changed her thinking.
UNEXPECTED PATH Gore didn’t plan to work in climate change, but the UN’s call to the civil sector changed her thinking.

“You value what you’re taught to notice and relate to,” she said. “People had been taught to greet the sunrise at a river. And then in the Middle Ages that’s banned and called satanic. The relationship to nature is broken, at the same time as the rise of mercantilism.”

The Vatican subsequently empowered Christian European explorers to vanquish and subdue native peoples, Gore said, reflecting the view that some human beings are subjects and everything else is an object. The slave trade reflected the same mentality, she said and so does America’s current obsession with constant economic growth and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the ultimate measure of our society’s success.

“Robert F. Kennedy once said that GDP measures everything in life except everything of real value,” Gore said, including the depletion of natural resources, the comfort and happiness of most people, and work in the home, which has not been monetized and is almost exclusively performed by women.

We need to seek other measures, like Bhutan’s happiness index, to change the conversation,. If we don’t, we’ll be up against the same thing with each discussion of pipelines and the opening up of the Amazon rain forest.”

— Karenna Gore

“We need to seek other measures, like Bhutan’s happiness index, to change the conversation,” Gore said. “If we don’t, we’ll be up against the same thing with each discussion of pipelines and the opening up of the Amazon rain forest.”

Gore concluded with the assertion that “eco-ministry is the great hope of our time.” That work includes civic actions such as the 2016 Dakota Access Pipeline Protests that arose against plans to run an oil pipeline through the Standing Rock reservation.

“There is racism in the placement of toxic facilities – they often go where ‘people don’t count,’” she said. Standing Rock was “a great coming together of protectors, not protesters – an example of how environmental justice and civic engagement are calling us to the front lines.”

Author: Joe Levine

The Winter Intensive is part of the SMBI master’s program, which includes 10 days in the summer and four in the winter. The intensive offers a blended learning format, with students of all ages flying to TC from around the world. Click here to learn more.

Interview with CEE Scholar in Residence Geraldine Patrick on Recovering the Mayan Calendar

Dario Gutierrez Rueda interviews CEE Scholar in Residence Geraldine Patrick about recovering the Mayan Calendar. She is a member of the Otomi-Hñahñu Regional Council in Mexico, and a professor of ethnoecology. Born to Chilean parents of Celtic and Mapuche origins, Patrick Encina received her doctorate in ethnoecology and social sciences from El Colegio Mexiquense, A. C. in 2007; she also holds a bachelor’s degree in biological sciences. She has been a visiting professor in Honduras and Argentina, and held faculty positions at several Mexican universities. Her research focuses on archaeoastronomy and cultural astronomy, particularly on ancestral and current ways of measuring and conceiving time and natural cycles in Mesoamerica, especially among Maya, Nahua and Otomian cultures.

The Remarkable Life of the First Woman on the Harvard Faculty

Alice Hamilton, an expert on public health, foresaw the rise of fascism in Germany.

In late August 1919, 50-year-old Alice Hamilton was sitting onboard a steamship typing quickly on a borrowed Corona typewriter, oblivious to the approaching New York skyline as she finished her return trip from Europe. She wanted to record the searing images she had just seen during an extended tour behind former enemy lines with her friend Jane Addams. In town after town across Germany, she had encountered starvation and disease, in a country reeling from the peace as well as the war, thanks to a continued British blockade designed to force the Germans to accept the harsh terms of the Versailles Treaty. Germany had become, in her words, a “shipwreck of a nation.”

Hamilton knew that the report would not be welcome by most Americans, eager to put the war behind them. Her gender would make it that much easier to dismiss. But she was determined to call Americans to conscience.

Read on…

PBS News Hour Reports on UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty Visit

CEE’s Senior Fellow on Environmental Justice and Civic Engagement, Catherine Coleman Flowers, was among those interviewed by PBS for The Story of American Poverty.

More than 18 million Americans live in “extreme poverty,” according to a report from the United Nations, which ranked poverty in the U.S. alongside some of the poorest areas in the world. The UN Special Rapporteur for Extreme Poverty paid a visit to the U.S. last year, drawing worldwide attention to his findings. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Simon Ostrovsky followed in his footsteps to report from Lowndes County, Alabama. This is part of an ongoing series of reports called “Chasing the Dream,” which reports on poverty and opportunity in America, and is supported in part by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

Va NAACP, 28 Members of the General Assembly, CEE File Amicus Brief: Union Hill “deserves our protection and our respect”

See below for the amicus brief filed today with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. According to the brief:

“Amici curiae are 28 members of the Virginia General Assembly, the legislative body for the Commonwealth of Virginia and the longest continuous law-making body in the world; Virginia State Conference NAACP, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the political, educational, social, and economic equality of rights of all persons; and the Center for Earth Ethics, a national civic organization working on environmental justice and civic engagement. Together the 28 members of the General Assembly represent over two million Virginians.”

General Assembly members signing on to the brief – all Democrats, not surprisingly – are: Delegate Dawn Adams (D-68th), Delegate Lashrecse Aird (D-63rd), Delegate Hala Alaya (D-51st), Delegate John Bell (D-87th), Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (D-2nd), Delegate Lee Carter (D-50th), Delegate Kelly Convirs-Fowler (D-21st), Delegate Karrie Delaney (D-67th), Delegate Wendy Gooditis (D-10th), Delegate Elizabeth Guzman (D-31st), Delegate Patrick Hope (D-47th), Delegate Chris Hurst  (D-12th), Delegate Jay Jones (D-89th), Delegate Mark Keam (D-35th), Delegate Kaye Kory (D-38th), Delegate Paul Krizek (D-44th), Delegate Mark Levine  (D-45th), Delegate Alfonso Lopez (D-49th), Delegate Kenneth R. Plum (D-36th), Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-11th), Delegate Marcus Simon (D-53rd), Delegate Kathy Tran  (D-42nd), Delegate Cheryl Turpin (D-85th), Delegate Debra Rodman (D-73rd), Delegate Ibraheem Samirah (D-86th), Senator Jennifer Boysko (D-33rd), Senator Creigh Deeds (D-25th) and Senator Lionell Spruill (D-5th).

Here’s a key excerpt from the conclusion (bolding added by me for emphasis):

For the African-American community of Union Hill, the marker of belonging is both life and death: the place where the first generation of free people came to life, and where now their ancestors rest in the ground. Union Hill is a unique, living, breathing community where the American history of slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction resides both in the cemeteries of former slaves and the memory of their descendants. It deserves our protection and our respect. For the above reasons, amici respectfully ask the Court to vacate and remand the permit order for further consideration.

Full article and complete brief here…

CEE Travels to Virginia to Say No to Pipelines

Most content originally published by ARTivism Virginia and Virginians for Justice!

On May, 17, 2019 Virginians and allies from the region walked with Union Hill to demand environmental justice and a stop to the Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley fracked gas pipelines. They were joined by William Barber III and Karenna Gore of the Center for Earth Ethics. Returning to the route across the Robert E. Lee Bridge into Richmond traveled by civil rights advocates 51 years ago during Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic Poor People’s Campaign march to Washington D.C., hundreds called for an end to environmental racism and new fossil fuel infrastructure that threatens our ability to protect our homes, our water, and our children’s future.

“We’re not here by accident. Every single one of us is here for a reason. We are all gathered together for a reason. We hold these truths to be self-evident. We will treat each other with equal dignity and justice. We will make democratic self-government work. And we will live responsibly on this planet – it’s a sacred place.” – CEE Director Karenna Gore.

 

“This struggle is going to have global significance…

1968, Dr. King, in true prophetic form declared that we have in our lifetime an opportunity to avoid a natural disaster of grand design and to create a new spirit of economic and social harmony.  An opportunity to write a luminous moral chapter in American history – if we only choose.” – William Barber III

 

 

Jessica Sims of Sierra Club Virginia Chapter led the collaboration of dozens of Virginia environmental and grassroots organizations, including the Virginia Poor People’s Campaign. Musical support was provided by the SUN SiNG Collective of ARTivism Virginia.

Hand in hand, ART and ACTIVISM stoke our imaginations and remind us of our creative, beautiful, renewing, and resilient capacity for change. 

 

Featured here is singer, BJ Brown and speakers Queen Shabazz, Genesis Chapman, Karenna Gore, William Barber II, and Marie Gillespie. Other speakers for this event included: Beth Roach, Pastor Paul Wilson, Evelyn Dent, Lakshmi Fjord, Richard Walker, Andrew Tyler, Swami Dayananda, John Laury, Andrea Miller, Travis Williams and Chad Oba. Other ARTivists included All the Saints Theater, Lilly Bechtel, Tom Burkett, Tom Elliott, Kay Ferguson, Gabe Gavin, DeRon Lark, Jameson Price, Mara Eve Robbins, Graham Smith-White, Laney Sullivan, Siva Stephen Fiske and Joshua Vana.

Many Thanks to ARTivism Virginia – for capturing Walk with Me:

Also:  Video From May 17th March from Chesapeake Climate Action Network

In the News: Faith Leaders March in Protest of the ACP, ABC News 8

Yes Virginia, We Can Stop Mountain Valley and Atlantic Coast Pipelines.  Here’s how.

***

“To the River” No Pipeline Anthem written by Joshua Vana, arranged, performed by the SUN SiNG collective . “To the River” was recorded and filmed along the MVP & ACP fracked gas pipeline routes in areas of devastation using the Sun Bus and videographer, Sarah Hazlegrove.

***

Herring, Stand with Appalachia: No Mountain Valley Pipeline

May 18th, activists and Artivists also gathered in Leesburg, VA, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s hometown, to ask Herring to stay on the side of the people and clean water.

“We request that Mark Herring
1) halt work on Mountain Valley Pipeline,
2) pursue his lawsuit against MVP to its fullest and refuse to settle the case for petty fines,
3) and affirm the state’s authority to revoke the 401 water quality certification that it granted.”

Speakers included Del. Sam Rasoul, Del. Chris Hurst, Del. Elizabeth Guzman and Professor Emily Hammond, George Washington Law.
The event included music by Rachel Eddy and the SUN SiNG Collective, including  Joshua Vana, Bj Brown, and Graham Smith-White.  And also featured CEE’s Karenna Gore, and Rev. Yearwood of the Hip Hop Caucus.

Video From May 18th, 2019 – Herring, Stand with Appalachia: No Mountain Valley Pipeline

In the News: Pipeline Protest Comes to Herring’s Hometown

#NoMorePipelines #NoMVP #NoACP#WeAreAllUnionHill

Original Caretakers Participate in the UNPFII 2019 and Side Events in photos

Dr. Mindahi Bastida and Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina of the Center for Earth Ethics Original Caretakers Initiative joined indigenous leaders from around the world in dialogue at the United Nations Headquarters and at events throughout New York City during Earth Week.  Topics included care for the environment, trade agreements and human rights.

At The New School, NYC with Geraldine Ann Patrick Encina, Scholar in Residence at Union Theological Seminary, Center for Earth Ethics.

 

At Columbia University with Tiokasin Ghosthorse of First Voices Indigenous Radio.

 

18 UNPFII — at United Nations Headquarters

 

CEE’s Mindahi Bastida with Tom BK Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network, Paty Gualinga and Grandma Catalina Chumpi

 

With the Siberia-Russian Delegation together with Chandra UNPFII 18

 

Mindahi Bastida with Taily Terena, Brazilian Forest and Land Defender, Youth Activist for Women and Gender

 

Delegates from the Mapuche Nation and Likanantay bring awareness to Human Rights Violations at the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

New York, United States of America – from Desarrollo Intercultural Chile

The Mapuche Nation and Likanantay were present at the opening of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Delegates representatives of communities and organizations of the Mapuche and Lickanantay Nations, arrived today at the United Nations building in New York to participate in the Permanent United Nations Forum on indigenous issues (UNPFII) with the aim of denouncing the Chilean State in front of The violation of their human rights and the lack of indigenous consultation in the process of processing and ratification of the international treaty TPP11 that a week ago was voted in the chamber of deputies and is in process of processing in the high chamber.

It also marks an important precedent as the event participates delegations from Peru and Mexico affected by the same situation, who will work together in front of the involvement of their rights by having scheduled participation in the events of the international system of the United Nations and hearings with the Body of rapporteurs and treaty systems.

These delegates participate as members of the indigenous council for the protection of the territory, traditions, languages and seeds, (Ciproter) of which are members of the United States of America, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, Peru and Chile; in addition to that they traveled in a self-managed way supported by their own communities and social movements with technical advice by ECOSOC agencies to the United Nations.

They participated in the opening of the session where the president of the 73th General Assembly of the United Nations, Ms. Maria Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, recognized and greeted all indigenous peoples, emphasizing the need to strengthen collective rights and generate inclusion processes that allow self-determination of peoples.

They finally expressed the need to recognize the broad right of indigenous peoples to lands, territories and resources, in addition to setting out the main problems affecting their traditional forms of life. This is based on the United Nations Declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples and the international Labour Organization Convention 169

Photo by: Juan Carlos labarca jclabarca.com


Please enjoy the following videos capturing the work of the panels during #EarthWeek

April 24th, 2019: Strengthening Territorial Resilience with Knowledge and Traditional Practices

Side event “Fortaleciendo la Resilencia Territorial con el Conocimiento y las Prácticas Tradicionales. Experiencias Zapoteca, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay y Mapuche” en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Side event ” Strengthening Territorial Resilience with Knowledge and Traditional Practices. Experiences Zapotec, Sapara, Ashuar, Likanantay and Mapuche ” within the framework of the 18th Permanent Forum of the United Nations on Indigenous Issues, New York.

Side event "Fortaleciendo la Resilencia Territorial con el Conocimiento y las Prácticas Tradicionales. Experiencias Zapoteca, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay y Mapuche" en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Posted by Desarrollo Intercultural Chile on Wednesday, April 24, 2019


April 26th, 2019:   The Involvement of TPP11 and other Treaties that Violate Indigenous Rights

Side event “La afectación del TPP11 y otros tratados que vulnera derechos indígenas. Casos de México, Ecuador y Chile” con líderes Zapoteca, Hñahñu, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche y Mapuche Nagche en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Side event ” the involvement of TPP11 and other treaties that violate indigenous rights. Cases of Mexico, Ecuador and Chile ” with leaders Zapotec, Hñahñu, Sapara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche and Mapuche Nagche within the framework of the 18th Permanent Forum of the United Uations on Indigenous Issues, New York.

Side event "La afectación del TPP11 y otros tratados que vulnera derechos indígenas. Casos de México, Ecuador y Chile" con líderes Zapoteca, Hñahñu, Sápara, Ashuar, Likanantay, Mapuche Lafkenche, Mapuche Pewenche y Mapuche Nagche en el marco del 18vo Foro Permanente de las Naciones Unidas sobre Cuestiones Indígenas, Nueva York.

Posted by Desarrollo Intercultural Chile on Friday, April 26, 2019

More Videos from the delegation during #EarthWeek are available at Desarrollo Intercultural Chile