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Air, Food, Human Rights, and Hope

28 January 2009 One Comment

One of the first news stories to catch my eye this week summarized a report from Susan Solomon, a Senior Scientist representing the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and its international partners, warning that the grim consequences of global warming will be with us for 1,000 years even if we reverse course now. One reaction to news like this might be: “We’re doomed, so what’s the use?”

Clearly, the Obama Administration is not taking this position. The federal requirements that were announced the same day, affecting new cars as of 2012, seem far from radical, but welcome nonetheless—especially considering that this report might have been suppressed or censored just two weeks ago. In Madrid, at a High Level UN Conference, Secretary General Ban Ki Moon proposed a Global Partnership for Agriculture, Food Security and Nutrition—the most essential of our environmental concerns after air itself. He and many others worry about how the financial crisis will affect rising food prices worldwide. Here too, the recommendations could be stronger. This isn’t food on the table. But with 126 nations AT the table, it’s the start of something good.

Or is it just hot air? Most everyone agrees that we have to show more respect for Mother Earth. Women of good will can disagree on the value of gatherings like this and on many other stories in this week’s news. Yet beams of light penetrate each dark corner of Earth’s domain.

Yesterday on the United Nations’ Holocaust Remembrance Day, established to coincide with the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945, came news that the fragile ceasefire in Gaza had been broken, just as new US emissary George Mitchell arrived in the Mid East. In England, passions run high over the BBC’s decision not to air an appeal for aid to survivors in Gaza. What do you think?

In Pakistan, we’re seeing new attacks on girls’ schools and more repression by the Taliban. And fearless, ingenious are women promoting peace with India through the healing arts and the lively arts. Open the link and read about them!

In a story that’s big on the blogs (especially those devoted to Iran and soccer) three officials of a top soccer club were suspended and a fourth was fined for allowing women to compete in a game against men. The evidence of the transgression was captured on cell phone videos. While the outrage on both sides is real, Iran is a country where women have not even been allowed to watch soccer games since 1979.

In the Philippines, though experts hold out little hope for peace between the government and the rebels who claim Mindanao, Muslim religious scholars are holding a national summit focused on peace and human rights—including the rights of women. And the call has just gone out for a peacebuilding institute under Christian auspices to be held in May and June. Perhaps there’s hope after all?

John Updike, the late great American novelist who had a lot to say about sex and the sexes and religion and other vital issues, once said that his answer to the universe was “Yes, but.” President Obama, who told us Yes We Can, also tells us what follows the but: It’s up to all of us.

Are we up to the task? Which of these challenges strikes closest to you? Please share your comments. We’re very grateful to all of you have commented on our postings in recent weeks.

About the Author

Mary Liepold is the Editor-in-Chief at Peace X Peace. To reach Dr. Liepold, email
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One Comments to “Air, Food, Human Rights, and Hope”
  1. Melody Green says:

    If we follow our passion and make a beneficial difference to the world through that passion we are as pro-active for peace and change as those who are at the face of the conflict.

    If we change our daily lives to include opportuniites to bring peace to conflict be that in our home,our relationships, our communities, our regions, our nations – we invariably bring peace to the world.

    We cannot sit and let someone do our share – we must offer up our actions as well.

    Check out:
    to find out how a cup of coffee a day can spread hope.

    Bless-sings to all at peace x peace


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