A wee bit of good news on Darfur

Darfur Accountability and Divestment Act (DADA) passed the House of Representatives today by a vote of 418 to 1.

The one no vote: Congressman Ron Paul

Under the legislation, the Securities and Exchange Commission would compile a list of companies lon the New York Stock Exchange with ties to Khartoum, prohibit them from receiving federal contracts, and make it legal to divest from such companies, removing the threat of lawsuits in the case of pension and other fund managers.

via Genocide Intervention Network (Congrats, guys)

This Week in AIDG Guatemala

Hello Folks;
Looks like a great week is ahead of us…Sadly Kristen just left, and Alia is taking off, and the two replacement Interns, Katie Bliss and Anne Romeo aren’t arriving till the end of the month.

Events:
Thursday: Buena Vista Social Club concert
Friday: dinner farewell for Alia

Housekeeping:
1) July’s food budget is closed and August’s money is in the envelope
2) Pay the electric bill (Corrina)
3) Thelma has cleaned–let’s keep it neat!
4) General organization: cables (Benny), workbench/tools (Alia ), refrigerator switch (Alissa), Trash (Benny+Corrina)
5) Chores: see chore board

Projects:
Alia: Eco-Construction, paper-crete wall experiment, fill in bamboo wall plans, assist in planning walls, finish glass bottle wall

Alissa: SHW prototype construction, SHW installation at intern house, assist with eco-construction

Corrina:
Wind: 1) Make anemometers, (buy bike computers and any other necessary parts) 2) Ask Steve to contract XT to make controllers 3) Find communities and install them (see Benny) 4) Make assessment of tower installation material/design (bamboo vs steel) 5) Push EWB for a prototype (discuss with Kristen)
Stoves: 1) Build structure for current stoves on roof so they don’t get wet 2) perform efficiency tests (see elena)
3) determine next steps for a pre-fab unit (see elena)
Hydro: 1) research with Steve (see steve), 2) generally helping out Steve in his quest to save the world with hydroelectricity
Eco-Construction: assist with eco-construction

Ji: Eco-Construction; water wall.

Benny:
Help with roof, survey, open bank account, write tufts article, write town crier article, tecotour materials/planning/marketing/etc, meet with USC, update intern page, organize house, barbed wire/razor wire, get SHW for house going, meet with Steve Lee, meet with GIS volunteer, go over community outreach plan, put in all arrival/departure dates in egroupware/wall schedule, email corrado regarding health insurance/community orgs, follow up on guarderia project, daily blog/twit, biz cards for interns, meet with waleska, buy a better filing system, fundraise to leads, close accounts with WHS TecoTour, July Accounting, print copies of liability form, go over steve document, figure out paper recycling.

Steve:
Out at La Fey, on vacation starting Wednesday…

11th Hour Trailer (YouTube)


(Duration 2:19)

Release Date: August 17th 2007

The 11th Hour[, a documentary feature film created, produced and narrated by Leonardo DiCaprio,] examines the human relationship with earth from its earliest glimmers of innovation, to the challenges humanity faces in the present, to the possibilities of the future.

The makers of the film spoke with over 70 scientists, designers, historians and thinkers to examine the state of the oceans, land and air, social, design and political challenges for change.

Treehugger interviews Leila Conners Petersen, the film’s co-director.

Non Sequitur: 1500 Filipino Prisoners Perform Thriller (YouTube)


(Duration 4:25)

It’s easy to see globalization at work in the Philippines, as long as you just add a couple decades and throw in 1,000 orange jumpsuits. Nearly 24 years after the premier of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” video, prisoners in the central Philippine province of Cebu groove out during their morning exercises by re-enacting the zombie dance moves that became so famous on MTV.

I got this from somewhere else, but FP Passport gets the hattip because I can’t remember the OG source. Oops.

I love the web.

This Week’s Top 10 (7/22/07-7/28/07)

Here are my favorite environment, health, climate change, international development or country specific blog posts (and articles) for the past week in no particular order.

  1. Welcome Back, Potter from Grist

    I inhaled it in two days and was very pleased to learn that Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is the “greenest book in publishing history.”

    [T]he switch [to eco-friendly paper] for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows has saved nearly 200,000 trees and avoided almost 8,700 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

  2. ENERGY STAR Certification Updated for Computers from floppyhead.com via Digg

    On July 20th, ENERGY STAR’s new specifications for computers went into effect.

    Only about 125 desktops and laptops currently meet the new stringent requirements.

  3. KENYA: Covering elections and promoting press freedom by phone from IRIN Africa

    NAIROBI, 27 July 2007 (IRIN) – Mobile phones have revolutionised communication in Africa… This year’s Kenyan elections should also be a milestone in the role of mobiles in politics and the media.

    Kenya is one of four countries involved in a pilot programme, Voices of Africa, which aims to use new mobile technology to better equip struggling young journalists.

    In the coming months, reporters will receive mobile phones with relatively high-speed data connections, using General Packet Radio System (GPRS), a service running on an increasing number of African networks, which allows users to send and receive large amounts of data, such as audio and images.

    Multimedia content will be uploaded on to a server directly from the field, allowing reporters to be first with the news. “First witness accounts is what we want for journalism: first-hand news and scoops,” says Wafula.

    Thanks Emily M.

  4. Biofuels Impacting on Charity Food Operations from Celsias

    Increased production of biofuels is causing food prices to rise by such an extent that the World Food Programme, a United Nations agency combating famine, is having trouble feeding as many hungry people as in the past, the agency said in an interview with the Financial Times.

    Sigh.

  5. The World Bank as social venture fund from iPienso

    “The World Bank,” a colleague once told me, “is less than the sum of its parts.” …the Bank underperforms because it constantly degrades its most precious resources — the energy, skills and creativity of the people who work there… so the basic prescription for improving the Bank’s performance is very simple: Just take the handcuffs off the staff and let them show the world what they can do…

  6. How Much Land Would You Need To Grow All Of Your Families Food? from The Seitch
  7. UN concerned at Haiti lynchings from BBC News

    The UN Special Representative in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, has warned of a sharp increase in lynchings and other mob attacks in the Caribbean nation.

  8. Gulf dead zone to be biggest ever from BBC News
    This year could see the biggest “dead zone” since records began form in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

    The dead zone is an area of water virtually devoid of oxygen which cannot support marine life.

    It is caused by nutrients such as fertilisers flowing into the Gulf, stimulating the growth of algae which absorbs the available oxygen.

    “The relatively high nitrate loading may be due to more intensive farming of more land, including crops used for biofuels, unique weather patterns, or changing farming practices.”

    Its 2003 Global Environment Outlook said that the number of seasonal hypoxic areas has doubled each decade since the 1960s.

  9. Instructables, Popular Science and TreeHugger’s “Go Green!” Contest

    TreeHugger has teamed up with Instructables and Popular Science to bring you the Go Green! contest. We want to know how you’re reducing your environmental footprint, and hopefully saving some cash in the process. Are you modding your gear, simplifying your life, or building something awesome? Tell us what you’re doing to go green, and teach us how — share what you know!

  10. Beggars can’t be choosers? from Managing Globalization

    Just when it looked like things were getting better for carriers of HIV in poor countries, old-fashioned negligence has thrown a monkey wrench (or spanner, if you prefer) into the works. Last month’s recall of an HIV drug made by Roche is causing ripples across the developing world, as Elisabeth Rosenthal writes. Critics say Roche could organized the recall much better, but can anyone call them to account?

Link of the Day: The Mannahatta Project

Mannahatta Project: Upper West Side 1609

The aim of the Mannahatta Project is to reconstruct the ecology of Manhattan when Henry Hudson first sailed by in 1609 and compare it to what we know of the island today. The Mannahatta Project will help us to understand, down to the level of one city block, where in Manhattan streams once flowed or where American Chestnuts may have grown, where black bears once marked territories, and where the Lenape fished and hunted. Most history books dispense of the pre-European history of New York in only a few pages. However, with new methods in geographic analysis and the help of a remarkable 18th-century map, we will discover a new aspect of New York culture, the environmental foundation of the city.

via The World Without Us (Alan Weisman’s new book)

Viele Map of Manhattan from Kottke

Viele Map of Manhattan

This is a zoomable, dragable version of the Viele Map of Manhattan, a map drawn in 1865 of the original boundaries and waterways of Manhattan. It is still in use today by developers, civil engineers, and architects.

Gas Flaring in Nigeria

NPR Climate Connections Piece: Gas Flaring Disrupts Life in Oil-Producing Niger Delta

Every year, millions of dollars are literally going up in smoke in Nigeria, Africa’s top crude oil-exporting nation, as companies burn off unwanted natural gas released during oil production.

This flaring and venting produces more greenhouse-gas emissions than any other single source in Africa south of the Sahara, and many who live in Nigeria’s oil-producing communities complain of chronic health and environmental problems associated with the gas flares.

Agip's perpetual gas flare at Ebocha.
Photo by: Michael Kamber for NYTimes

From Strangers in the Dazzling Night: A Mix of Oil and Misery – NYTimes 2005

The gas is a highly valuable product used to fuel industry across the power-hungry globe, and Nigeria has more than 600 trillion cubic feet of it, one of the largest reserves in the world. If harnessed and put to use, experts say, Nigerian gas could light the whole continent for the better part of a millennium.

But for decades there has been no way to capture it because oil companies and the Nigerian government, a majority partner in all oil operations here, had not built the infrastructure to make use of it. The market for natural gas inside Nigeria is tiny, and exporting it requires pipelines and other infrastructure that cost billions of dollars to build.

So sad given today’s article in the Times.
Toiling in the Dark: Africa’s Power Crisis

Perhaps 25 of the 44 sub-Saharan nations face crippling electricity shortages, a power crisis that some experts call unprecedented.

The implications go beyond candlelight suppers and extra blankets on beds. The lack of reliable power has already begun to hamper the region’s development, clipping more than 2 percent off the annual growth rates of the worst-hit African economies, according to the World Bank. Some nations, like Ghana, have tried to deal with their power crises by leasing huge teams of gas generators, producing emergency power at exorbitant rates until power plants can be built.


Flare of 15 meters at Shell headquarters (Video Duration: 2:02)

Amsterdam, 3 May 2007 — On the day that oil giant Shell’s quarterly earnings report is made public, Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) will light a 15-metre high flare in front of the headquarters of Shell in The Hague, the Netherlands. With this action, Milieudefensie is protesting the gas flaring in Nigeria. Milieudefensie calls on Shell to immediately heed the court order to stop gas flaring in Nigeria by 30 April 2007. Three days ago this deadline expired and the flares are still burning.

Event: Bioneers by the Bay – YOUTH INITIATIVE!

Bioneers by the Bay Conference

Bioneers by the Bay – YOUTH INITIATIVE!

Connecting for CHANGE!

Date: Fri, Oct 19, 2007 at 9:00am to Sun, Oct 21, 2007 at 7:00pm
Location: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Rd.
North Dartmouth, MA
Speakers:

Contact Info: 508.748.0816
Email: kalia {at] connectingforchange [dot} org

Description:
Proudly sponsored by the Marion Institute, Bioneers by the Bay: Connecting for Change is linked to the internationally-acclaimed Bioneers conference.

The upcoming program will once again feature an unforgettable weekend of some of the most insightful, inspiring innovators in the realms of sustainable agriculture, social justice, spirituality and the environment.

Register online!

Can’t afford it? Scholarships are available, OR consider volunteering!

Would you like to join the youth committee? We’re always looking for people to help organize, spread the word, be leaders and facilitate the event! Get your teachers, student organizations involved, and help out with the event itself!

Bioneers By the Bay Website
Facebook Group Page
MySpace Page

Thanks Amanda F.