Monthly Archives: October 2016

increasing air pollution kills kids

A 2016 UNICEF “Clear the Air” report said air pollution kills about 600,000 children under age five each year and contributes to respiratory problems like asthma impacts the development of children’s lungs; the problem is getting in low-income areas and nations.[i] Over one billion children live in homes were solid fuels are used in cooking and heating. The report concludes that reducing air pollution is one of the most important steps we can take for children.

“Clear the Air for Children,” UNICEF, October 201.

Click to access UNICEF_Clear_the_Air_for_Children_30_Oct_2016.pdf

[i] “Clear the Air for Children,” UNICEF, October 201.

Click to access UNICEF_Clear_the_Air_for_Children_30_Oct_2016.pdf

Native American Youth Protest DAPL Pipeline

In October of 2016, Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and about 300 other Native American tribes united to protest building a $3.8 million oil pipeline across sacred land. They believe the 1,100-mile pipeline is a violation of treaty rights and will threaten water quality. They were joined by various unions like National Nurses United and media stars like Shailene Woodley and Mark Ruffalo who kept up a steady tweets to report what they witnessed. Ruffalo said the DAPL (Dakota Access Pipeline) protests were the most peaceful he’s seen, with prayers, sacred dance and singing, and drumming. A slogan was, “We will be peaceful, we will be prayerful, we will not retreat.” Their goal was to stop a company called Energy Transfer Partners from completing the Dakota Access pipeline across private land, Army Corps land and under the Missouri River to carry oil from North Dakota to Illinois. Activists said no proper Environmental Impact Statement was done.

Members of the Indigenous Youth Council and others—around 220 people, camped on the site owned by the company but claimed it as tribal land in order to protest threats to their land and water and to protest police violence. Police left a larger camp alone on federal land near a town called Cannon Ball, south of Bismarck. Thousands of people assembled in camps on Standing Rock Sioux land. To clear protesters from the company’s land, militarized police dressed in riot gear in armored tanks, bulldozers, sound cannons, and security forces with dogs attacked peaceful demonstrators with rubber bullets, beanbag shotgun rounds, pepper spray, tasers, mace, batons, and water cannon, arresting hundreds of people. Protesters set fires to deter police efforts to clear the camp.

Young teens occupied Hillary Clinton’s campaign headquarters in Manhattan to ask for her support on DPL, presenting a letter that said silence is not acceptable. Gracey Claymore, age 19, said she came to the headquarters because, “We want her to uphold the treaties and her promise to protect unci maka [Mother Earth].”[i] Another young woman present at the headquarters said, “Young people need to speak up and not be scared of adult leaders. We are left to take care of what they mess up.” The young First Nation activists put up a tipi and drummed and sang inside the headquarters. They were joined by four Oceti Sakowin teens who ran 2,000 from North Dakota to Washington, DC to protest DAPL.

Also during October, Canadian young people protested at Parliament Hill against the Kinder Morgan Pipeline to British Columbia. A McGill University student arrested during the demonstration, Sophie Birks said, “My generation wants to see real action on climate change and Indigenous rights. This starts with rejecting the Kinder Morgan pipeline….I know that, as young people, we have the power to make some big changes.”[ii]

[i] Deirdre Fulton, “’Silence Is Not Acceptable,’” Common Dreams, October 27, 2016.

[ii] Nika Knight, “Over 75 Arrested in Ottawa as Youth Demand Climate Action from Trudeau,” Common Dreams, October 24, 2016.

Deirdre Fulton, “’Silence Is Not Acceptable,’” Common Dreams, October 27, 2016.

[1] Nika Knight, “Over 75 Arrested in Ottawa as Youth Demand Climate Action from Trudeau,” Common Dreams, October 24, 2016.

An activist describes the Greek protests in Sintagma Square in May-August 2011

Lower Square had a General Assembly every night at 6:00 or 7:00 where people who didn’t have a voice expressed themselves about what needs to be done. The majority of people in the lower Square were not anarchists, but many were left-wing. Most were people who weren’t involved with politics but were frustrated with corruption and wanted to participate for the first time, not just suffer. The main demand was real democracy–the webpage was titled Real Democracy Now. Protesters were against being transformed into an authoritarian political party or any other organization.

Sintagma Park was filled with tents. Meals were prepared every day by volunteers, along with a time bank exchange of services without money, creating a sense of community. The biggest demonstrations were every Sunday—around 200,000 people at the largest one. I was there when the demonstrations were organized and participated in general assemblies, and witnessed lots of work cleaning and preparing meals. Although it was very peaceful, at the end of June, some protests became violent, due to hooded people and the police. The Square was annoying to the government, so they exploited the violence to justify using tear gas. During a concert on the lower Square, the police threw teargas, like a chemical war. The people hung the spent canisters like trophies.** Thousands came back to the square to clean the teargas, a very touching moment. In August, the tents were cleared by the police.

Did it have an outcome? Probably not. The same memorandums were signed by SYRIZA at the same time it supported the demonstrations, so they started to fade out. Since a new memorandum was signed, some felt there was no impact. The violence also contributed to the decline of demonstrations. SYRIZA was initially a radical left-wing party and people invested their hopes in that party’s anti-memorandum rhetoric, said they would tear them up, so they stayed home waiting for SYRIZA to oppose the Troika. In a referendum to say in the EU or leave, 62% said NO, leave. There was a celebration in July 2015, a big celebration in the square, for the no vote, but the government did the opposite action and signed the memorandum. The money the government collects goes to the banks, not the Greek people. That was the last big moment in the Square. This year people lost hope. But the legacy was local assemblies in neighborhood that discuss the environment and need for green spaces and gardens, issues of solidarity, organizing meals for people in need like the thousands of refugees because the state was absent. Another legacy is social centers and an activist mentality shaped younger people. A few months ago we gathered stuff for the refugees, a self-organized effort. The square was filled with people, self-organized volunteers, with piles organized for food, clothes, babies, etc. I learned about it on Facebook. Such initiatives are a legacy, although they also existed before due to the economic crisis.

FGM in Kenya opposed by activist

KENYA: I Escaped but Other Girls Didn’t

By  Maureen Bii | 28 October, 2016

Maureen Bii watched girls in her village disappear to forced marriage and female genital mutilation. Now she works to end these practices for good.–Community–10-28-2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_2ba7a2ad38-11f1ca6f7b-415500373

Gen Y compare Gen Z siblings

Debbie (21, f, California student) compared Gen Y with Gen Z in 2016.

I used to play outside when I was younger and always had to wait my turn to use the computer in my house or play a PC CD game. I didn’t know about the Internet until I was 11. I created my first social media in 6th grade with MySpace. Nowadays, Gen Z has way more knowledge about the Internet and technology. My young brother knows so much information through watching informative videos on YouTube and using Google. It is unfortunate that they do not spend a lot of time outside using their imagination and staying active. I believe kids from Gen Z are more protected that Gen Y. My parents used to allow us to go shopping with our friends or siblings without supervision. Now I wouldn’t allow my brother to go out alone with his friend because of my fear that something bad will happen to him. So many bad things have happened in our world today that parents are more protective of their children today. We are all learning to become more open minded and loving towards one another. My generation is a population who loves everybody for who they are.

In Greece, 19-year-old Olivia compared her childhood with that of her sister, age 13.

They’re more spoiled. They grow up a lot faster than I did. They have the same schedule as me, do similar things with their friends, have the same technology, the same clothes and attitudes, and how they talk about money. I think parents spoil the children because they work a lot, they compensate by buying them stuff and letting them do want they want. My younger sister has Instagram but my mother won’t let her have Facebook. In my age group, we don’t care about likes and comments, I do it for myself. But the younger generation cares; there’s a lot of bullying, trying to find their identity, a lot of tension. I got bullied in person at that age at school too, but now, there’s also violence, hitting, especially if someone insults your mom. They jump on each other and kick each other, but we didn’t do that in my generation.