Archive | April 16, 2011

Those Urban Water Fountains!

Those Urban Water Fountains!

By Hwaa Irfan

Hands up those of you who have spotted a man made water fountain spouting gallons of water into the air while moving around the city. Looks good does it not? Makes one feel refreshed (psychologically speaking) if one has enough time to stare at it, and if one gets really close one might even feel cooler for about 10 seconds, if that.

– Do you know where all that water is going to?

– Never thought about it?

Neither did the town planner-cum-architect by the look of it. Unless all that water is feeding – irrigating a public garden/park it is outright insanity to be wasting all that water in a time when countries are worried about water security.

If the gallons of water being wasted to make the town cosmetically attractive could be directed into watering local gardens and parks, there would be greater benefit for all all-round. If one can get shade from a tree, how much more temperature reduction there would be in a vicinity.

Your Microclimate and Water

One would feel less burdened, less irritated, and more predisposed to adding less stress to the stress barometer in one’s home, work, and one’s environ in general if one did not have to cope with the additional burden of city heat. City heat due to its great architectural design and layout can seem like a microwave oven in comparison to the countryside because a) trapped heat contributed by ultra-violet rays from the sun bouncing off concrete and deflecting onto us poor humans, and b) it is missing out on the transpiration factor from trees which reduces summertime temperature, and stabilize cold temperatures in the winter as wind breakers.

In addition, one can actually consider using less energy and paying smaller bills to keep one’s home or office cool.

Your Microclimate and Pollution

By increasing the land coverage with vegetation there would also be a reduction in pollution thus increasing the good health of the local population. The leaves have structures that absorb pollution which once inside the leaves diffuses some of the pollutants – isn’t God ingenious! The leaves also retain particles on their surface, which either gets blown away, washed off by rain, but we do not get away that easily with our bad habits, because it then enters the soil.

This information is not new, and much ‘research’ as in most ares of life have been done, but is it not time to stop researching and to start implementing this knowledge – the London Green Belt is a good example of that! As far back as 1994 it was noted that trees in the most urban of cities, New York City had removed approximately 1,821 metric tons of pollutants. When was the last time you breathed clean air?

What you can do, is organize with others to turn off those local fountains, and to see what can be done about planting more vegetation in one’s area. It is disheartening to gaze upon dying vegetation, so see what arrangements can be made with the local council to have those city water fountains adapted so that the gallons of water they spout feeds into nearby vegetation. In the long term it is worth it and cost effective to have a cooler urban environment, cleaner urban air, reduced demand for electricity, reduced bills, and a more pleasant and calming environment!

Investigate the plants like climbers that grow quickly (be mindful, some are invasive and poisonous), and those that bear evergreen leaves -but don’t block out that summer breeze! By talking to others in your locality about doing something constructive about this problem one breaks down barriers, strengthen one’s social network, create a common purpose, and may even have a safer place to live in if those relationships are maintained! Also, more trees in the long term, attract the natural music of birds!


Escobedo, F. Et al “Air Pollution Removal and Temperature Reduction by Gainesville’s Urban Forest”

Novak, D. “Effects of Urban Trees on Air Quality.”

Related Topics:

Restoring Nature: The Craft of the Town Planner

Nature Helps Our Brain Connect!

It’s Getting Hot! Hot! Hot!

Open Letter to President Barack Obama on Libya

Open Letter to President Barack Obama on the Crisis in Libya

National Conference of Black Lawyers

Dear President Obama:

In 2002 you made the following statement: “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war.” As Commander-in-Chief of U.S. military forces you ordered use of force against the sovereign state of Libya, and there are many who are asking whether you commenced an armed conflict of the very kind that you condemned in 2002.

The framers of the Constitution and the Congress established guidelines for use of the military that are designed precisely for the prevention of rash, ill-advised wars. Article I, Sec. 8 of the Constitution gives the power to declare war solely to the Congress. Recognizing that there are occasions when use of the military is necessary in the absence of a formal declaration of war, Congress passed the War Powers Resolution. That resolution gives a President the authority to use the military under only three very specific circumstances: (a) when the Congress has declared war; (b) when there is specific statutory authorization to use the armed forces; or ( c ) when the U.S. has been attacked.

In the case of Libya, Congress neither declared war nor passed legislation giving you authority to use force in that country. That means that the only circumstance that could have given you authority for your actions would have been an attack of some kind against the U.S., its territories or possessions, or its armed forces. To our knowledge, the U.S. was in no way attacked before you ordered attacks on Libya’s soldiers and weaponry. Consequently, there was no lawful basis for commencing a military campaign in that country.

United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973 has frequently been cited as justification for your actions. It calls for a no-fly zone, an asset freeze and other measures intended to “protect civilians and civilian populations under threat of attack” by the Libyan government “while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory.” We object strongly to any suggestion that this can in any way be regarded as a substitute for Constitutional and Congressional guidelines for use of force. Nevertheless, we believe it is worth noting that even if Resolution 1973 were a legitimate basis for U.S. military action, this Resolution is limited in its scope, and it does not, in either its letter or spirit, suggest that the Libyan crisis can or should be addressed solely by military means.

Specifically, the Resolution: “[s]tresses the need to intensify efforts to find a solution to the crisis which responds to the legitimate demands of the Libyan people and notes the decisions of the Secretary-General to send his Special Envoy to Libya and of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union to send its ad hoc High-Level Committee to Libya with the aim of facilitating dialogue to lead to the political reforms necessary to find a peaceful and sustainable solution.” (emphasis added)

The absence to date of any significant U.S. attempts to engage in dialogue, along with your own rhetoric that demands that “Qaddaffi must go” all prompt reasonable conclusions that U.S. objectives extend well beyond the protection of civilians, and may well be focused on what has become popularly referred to as “regime change.” If that is the case, we are compelled to urge that you not cherry-pick those institutional aspects of the U.N. that you believe will support such an agenda. The U.N. Charter stresses the importance of: self-determination [Art.1(2)]; peaceful settlement of disputes [Art. 2(3)]; and a duty to refrain from use of threats or “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” [Art. 2(4)].

Finally, we must remind you that your actions do not occur in a vacuum. The U.S. and other western countries have a long, shameful history of imperial intervention and domination of countries in Africa and in other underdeveloped regions. Whatever your objectives may be in Libya, they are considered against that historical backdrop. In the interest of respecting the rights of the people of that country to determine their own destiny, we urge in the strongest terms that you respect the rule of law as you address the challenges presented by the Libyan conflict.

The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) thanks you for considering our thoughts on this matter, and we will remain available to respond to any of your concerns or questions.


Mark P. Fancher, Coordinator


Related Topics:

U.S., Britain and France Step-Up War Plans

The Script Slips on Libya

Who or What is Financing the States?

The War Against Libya in Historical Perspective

Statement on the Invasion of the African State of Libya By the Imperialist Forces

Arizona: AZ SB1070 Is Not a Law

Arizona: AZ SB1070 Is Not a Law

“AZ SB 1070 is not a law.” With these words, TONATIERRA representative Tupac Enrique Acosta addressed a press conference today at the Arizona State Capitol upon announcement that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld District Court Judge Susan R. Bolton’s injunction against of the most heinous parts of AZ Senate Bill 1070.

The injunction by Judge Bolton came on July 28, 2010 one day before the legislation was to take effect and as a result of a U.S. Department of Justice lawsuit against AZ SB1070 that argued that the statute was unconstitutional and preempted by federal law. Arizona Governor Jan Brewer then appealed the injunction and today that appeal was denied, which sends the case back to Judge Bolton’s court where the lawsuit will continue.

AZ SB170 was signed by Governor Brewer last April 23, 2010.

Referring to grave “foreign policy implications” which could come to effect if the enjoined sections of 1070 were unleashed, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals still did not address the issues of violations of international law which are at the core of the US-Mexico-Canada immigration policies taken as a whole, vis-a-vi the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Human Rights of Migratory Workers.

“We support and agree with the position of the 9th Circuit Court today which upheld the partial injunction against section of AZ SB10, yet these judicial and legislative acts and remedies have not addressed the underlying foreign policy of genocide and territorial expropriation via immigration policies that favour the European-American constituencies at the expense of the Self-Determination of the Indigenous Nations, Pueblos, and the Mexicano Barrios referenced by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (US-Mexico 1848),” said the representative of TONATIERRA.

“Where is the recognition of the Nations of Indigenous Peoples of this continent, and for the territorial rights of the O’dham Nations upon whose lands this state capitol stands?” he said.

Instead the 9th Court of Appeals decision references the “movement” by Angles and Saxons into Roman Britain, but there is no cognition much less recognition the baseline of legality for the US jurisdiction itself in the hemisphere, Arizona included, is the Doctrine of Discovery, which legitimized a political construct of race supremacy continentally and subsequently the establishment of regional anchor baby settlements by European-American “White” populations under the guise of the Doctrine of Manifest Destiny.

“The hemispheric religio-political constructs of white supremacy which frame AZ SB10 are violations of our common human spirit and will not be tolerated, much less endorsed as public policy or law for our Communities or Peoples. We will not comply. AZ SB 1070 is not a Law.” said Tupac.

The decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals today reiterates what has been stated many times over by the protests and mega-marches of hundreds of thousands of people from all walks of life against the policies of discriminatory law enforcement and legislation that officializes racial profiling which have been coming out of the Arizona state legislature under the leadership of Senate President Russell Pearce.

AZ SB170 was never an immigration law, but a tactic of the war of attrition in alignment with the federal Operation End Game program. It was and is still is a law of persecution, state sanctioned persecution under the guise of law, whose real purpose is to prop up the position of privilege and power of the constituencies of “white” America. The decision today by the 9th Circuit Court is yet another Wakeup Call from that nightmare, the Nightmare of Manifest Destiny.

AZ SB 1070 Is Not a Law

When in the course of Human Events, it becomes necessary for the Voice of the Peoples to be heard, and their presence as members all of the PUBLIC to be recognized as Human Beings with equal right of self identification and self determination as PEOPLES of the Nations and Pueblos of Mother Earth, such jurisprudence demands that at the present time the clarification be boldly made and convincingly argued that:


Being instead an ill-conceived and illegitimate product of state sanctioned racial profiling in the form of an unacceptable act of legislation, which is to the detriment of the common well being of all members of the State of Arizona, and which without recognition as law by the Peoples of Arizona, is hereby denounced and shall be defied in the

Spirit of Non-violent Peaceful Resistance.

AZ SB 1070 a product of the tragically flawed legislative process of collusion and illegal manipulation of the powers of representative government to the benefit of an illegitimate and immoral power structure of historical complicity built upon the discriminatory principles of Manifest Destiny, whose precedent in the form of the Doctrine of Discovery we also now reject once more and shall continue to challenge as a deformation of our COMMON HUMANITY, which we share with All Our Relatives from the:

Four Directions of Mother Earth.

Source: NAHUACALLI – Embassy of Indigenous Peoples

Related Topics:

The Hypocrisy of Anti-Immigration in Arizona 

Partial Victory Over Arizona Immigration Law

The Doctrine of Discovery

Another Forest to Bite the Dust!?

Another Forest to Bite the Dust!?

What is it with the hearts of people when it grows so cold, so hard, so meaningless? What does it mean to live one’s life in a manner that separates life from life? The 2011 Japanese Earthquake-Tsunami offered the people of the earth a chance to open that conduit again, and yet the mainstream talk only seems to centre on cost, stocks, and the profit that can be earned through rebuilding Japan again as the U.S., did after Hiroshima.

Many opportunities present themselves for us to reconnect with ourselves again, and again, and again, like the Sheka Forest of southwest Ethiopia, a rich culture of biodiversity, livelihood and sustainability that had gotten caught up in the greedy fingers of expanding urbanization, illegal logging, expanding coffee and tea plantations, to land grab opportunists like Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi, who opened the Gemadro Coffee Estate trading with companies like Starbuck under the “fair trade” deal when employees receive far from a respectable wage, while pollution the river, deforesting the area, and compromising land fertility and sustainability.

Ignoring traditional practices of land sustainability, the medicinal plants are disappearing too. For a people who have lived off the grid, in a sustainable manner without need or want from the world outside, this crime against 200 distinct clans with 80 languages which speaks of what it means to live together in harmony in an area that 772 square miles 400 miles south of the capital Addis Ababa…

What You Can Do…

Contact the following organizations for more information on how you can support them in their advocacy for improved local forestry management and training in traditional knowledge and practices: MELCA, Non-Timber Forest Products and Participatory Forest Management, Ethio-Wetlands and Natural Resources Association, and WWF-Ethiopia.

Related Topics:

Ethiopia: Selling the Sacred

300 Year Old Vietnamese Forest Food System

Disappearing Bees and Our Food Chain

Brazil Signing Away Our Amazonian Legacy

The Yanomami and the Yew Tree That Fights Cancer

Can’t See the British Woods Without the Trees

Earth Grab: No to a Biomass Economy