Note: The following post was written for Climate Connections by the folks at Historic Natural Disasters. The 100-year storms of 1913, likely caused by volcanic activity, offer an important glimpse into the present and future. As atmospheric CO2 levels near 400ppm, and other forms of pollution are steadily increasing, one thing we can be sure of is more storms like the ones described in the below post.
And while the past decade has seen its fair share of “superstorms” and deadly climatic events, from Hurricane Katrina to deadly flooding in Pakistan and drought across Africa, we can still glean valuable lessons from the last 100 years. The destruction cause by these epic events are not new to our world.
However, their increased frequency and intensity are certain to pose enormous challenges to industrialized society and its fragile infrastructure. Rebuilding may have worked in 1913, but time and resources are running out. Ignoring the root causes of climate change will only make the transition more difficult. Real solutions to increase community resiliency against the impacts of climate change and are needed now more than ever.
-The GJEP Team
By Robert Muhlauser, May 10, 2013.
West Fourth Street in Dayton, 1913
2013 marks the centennial of one of the most devastating natural disasters ever to hit the United States. In late March of 1913, a system of ravaging storms swept across the American Midwest and parts of the East and Gulf Coasts. The storms brought with them high-speed winds and torrential rains, and spawned both tornadoes and massive flooding. By the time the storms had passed through the area, they had killed hundreds of people and left thousands more homeless, and caused billions of dollars’ worth of damage.
Meteorologists have referred to these storms as “100 year storms” since they are such rare occurrences that they only have a probability of happening about once every century. One question that has puzzled historians and meteorologists alike is what makes storms of this magnitude occur, particularly the storms of 1913. A popular and generally recognized theory is that the storms were the result of the 1912 eruption of Alaskan volcano Mount Katmai.
West Fourth Street in Dayton, 2013
On June 6, 1912 magma from beneath Mount Katmai in the southern part of the Alaskan peninsula began to escape through a vent, signaling a volcanic eruption. The eruption was so intense it actually caused the summit of Mount Katmai to implode. During the next four hours the cloud of smoke and ash the volcano produced reached a height 20 miles and spread as far as 100 miles away, where ashes drifted down onto the village of Kodiak. Within the next week the ash cloud had traveled as far as Africa. This eruption was the biggest in recorded history at that time and is still second only to the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines.
May 6, 2013. Source: African Women’s Development Fund
We the undersigned participants at a strategic meeting on Women’s Economic Empowerment and Livelihoods, held in Cape Town on 3-4 May under the auspices of the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), wish to communicate the following key messages from our deliberations to the World Economic Forum-Africa meeting “Delivering on Africa’s Promise”, 8-10 May 2013
We welcome the new positive image of “Africa Rising,” and stand proud of the achievements of the continent’s women and men against overwhelming odds. As partners in the efforts to ensure that Africa’s growth is sustainable and is in the interest of the continent and its peoples, we wish to bring to the attention of this meeting, the following concerns in the hopes that they will form a part of the deliberations:
We remain sceptical that real progress for Africa’s one billion people—the majority of whom are women–will change radically through policies centred unremittingly on markets and profits, and based predominantly on the extraction of mineral resources. African people’s needs and interests—particularly those of women—are not part of this narrow economic vision. As African women, we are only too aware that:
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project stands in solidarity with all imprisoned ecowarriors and other activists and dissidents throughout the world. May you return to the front lines soon.
-The GJEP Team
By Sandra Steingraber. April 22, 2013. Source: Common Dreams
The following was letter was written from the Chemung County Jail in Elmira, New York where Steingraber is serving a fifteen day sentence for blockading a gas compression rig last month owned by the Inergy gas company near her home in the Finger Lakes region of the state:
This morning – I have no idea what time this morning, as there are no clocks in jail, and the florescent lights are on all night long – I heard the familiar chirping of English sparrows and the liquid notes of a cardinal. And there seemed to be another bird too – one who sang a burbling tune. Not a robin–wren? The buzzing, banging, clanking of jail and the growled announcements of guards on their two-way radios – which also go on all night – drowned it out. But the world, I knew, was out there somewhere.
The best way to deal with jail is to exude patience, and wrap it around a core of resolve and surrender. According to New York state law, all inmates upon arrival are isolated from the general population until they are tested for tuberculosis and that test comes back negative. Typically, that takes three days. Isolation means you are locked inside your cell with no access to the phone (the phone for cell block D happens to be located, tantalizingly, four feet from my bars – just out of reach); no access to books (the two books I have in my cell, lent to me by an empathetic inmate, are the Bible and Nora Roberts’ Carolina Moon, which is a 470-page paperback whose opening sentence is, “She woke in the body of a dead friend.”); and, of course, no access to wi fi, cell phones, e-mail or the internet.
I am writing with a borrowed pencil on the back of the “Chemung County Inmate Request Form,” which is a half sheet of paper. I am writing small and revising in my head. (Forgive the paragraphing – I’m trying to save space.)
By Alberto Alonso-Fradejas, April 11 2013. Source: Upside Down World
Photo: Upside Down World
In the last ten years, the expansion of corporate sugarcane and oil palm plantations in northern Guatemala has encroached on the lands of Maya Q’eqchi’ indigenous people—many of whom fled to this region during the country’s 36-year genocidal war. These plantations have already displaced hundreds of families—even entire communities—leading to increased poverty, hunger, unemployment, and landlessness in the region. The companies grabbing land are controlled by European-descendent Guatemalan oligarchs who are benefitting from rising global commodity prices for food, animal feed, and fuel (biodiesel and ethanol). In the face of violent expulsion and incorporation into an exploitative system, peasant families are struggling to access land and defend their resources as the basis of their collective identity as Q’eqchi’ peoples or R’al Ch’och (“sons and daughters of the earth”). Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Bioenergy / Agrofuels, Climate Change, Climate Justice, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Women, World Bank
By Imani Altemus-Williams, April 10 2013. Source: Waging Nonviolence
Young residents of Molokai, Hawaii, protest GMOs as part of a month-long series of actions against biotech chemical companies. Photo: WNV/Imani Altemus-Williams
At 9 am on an overcast morning in paradise, hundreds of protesters gathered in traditional Hawaiian chant and prayer. Upon hearing the sound of the conch shell, known here as Pū, the protesters followed a group of women towards Monsanto’s grounds.
“A’ole GMO,” cried the mothers as they marched alongside Monsanto’s cornfields, located only feet from their homes on Molokai, one of the smallest of Hawaii’s main islands. In a tiny, tropical corner of the Pacific that has warded off tourism and development, Monsanto’s fields are one of only a few corporate entities that separates the bare terrain of the mountains and oceans.
This spirited march was the last of a series of protests on the five Hawaiian islands that Monsanto and other biotech companies have turned into the world’s ground zero for chemical testing and food engineering. Hawaii is currently at the epicenter of the debate over genetically modified organisms, generally shortened to GMOs. Because Hawaii is geographically isolated from the broader public, it is an ideal location for conducting chemical experiments. The island chain’s climate and abundant natural resources have lured five of the world’s largest biotech chemical corporations: Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont Pioneer and BASF. In the past 20 years, these chemical companies have performed over 5,000 open-field-test experiments of pesticide-resistant crops on an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 acres of Hawaiian land without any disclosure, making the place and its people a guinea pig for biotech engineering.
The presence of these corporations has propelled one of the largest movement mobilizations in Hawaii in decades. Similar to the environmental and land sovereignty protests in Canada and the continental United States, the movement is influenced by indigenous culture. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Commodification of Life, Food Sovereignty, Genetic Engineering, Indigenous Peoples, Industrial agriculture, Rights, Resilience, and Restoration, Women
April 6, 2013. Source: WW4 Report
Some 30 protesters crashed the opening of the sixth Expominas trade fair at the Quito Exhibition Center April 3, where Ecuador’s government sought to win new investors for the mineral and oil sectors. The protesters, mostly women, interrupted the event’s inaugural speech with an alternative rendition of the song “Latinoamérica” by the Puerto Rican hip-hop outfit Calle 13, with lyrics referencing places in the country threatened by mining: “You cannot buy Intag, you cannot buy Mirador, you can’t buy Kimsacocha, you can’t buy my Ecuador.” The activists wore t-shirts with the slogan: “Responsible mining, tall tale” (literally, cuento chino,Chinese tale). (Tegantai, April 3) Continue reading
By Jessica Larsen, March 27, 2013. Source: Brainerd Dispatch
A modest copper bucket carries fresh, pure water from the headwaters of the Mississippi River.
About 1 1/2 quarts of the clear liquid will finish its journey at the river’s end in the Gulf of Mexico.
A group of Native American women are walking the length of the river — 1,200 miles — in an effort to raise awareness about pollution.
“The water effects all of us. We are all water,” said walker Sharon Day, an Ojibwe tribe member and executive director of the Indigenous Peoples Task Force. “We want people to recreate a relationship with the water, with themselves.”
Today, they’re near Davenport, Iowa.
The group filled the copper vessel March 1 at Lake Itasca State Park and then performed an Ojibwe water ceremony before they began the journey.
At the ceremony, the group made an offering to the water, sang the water song and ended the ritual by sipping the fluid before taking their first steps.
Averaging about 30 miles a day, the group passed through Brainerd March 8. Around April 29, they will reach their destination.
Note: Global Justice Ecology Project stands in solidarity with Popular Communicators for Autonomy (COMPPA), and their efforts to amplify the voices of women in Mesoamerica. Please consider contributing to this effort to lift up the voices of Indigenous, Garifuna and campesina women. You can donate here: http://bit.ly/ZfdeH0
-The GJEP Team
March 21, 2013. Source: Popular Communicators for Autonomy (COMPPA)
Please consider donating to this important effort here: http://bit.ly/ZfdeH0