How To Support A Scholar Who Has Come Under Attack. by Dr. Eric Anthony Grollman

At a time when attacks on academics are spiralling in from every direction, this commentary is timely and important.

Conditionally Accepted

Thank A Public Scholar

Academics, can we talk seriously about social media for a moment?  Like much of the rest of the world, we use various social media platforms.  Some of us use it strictly for personal reasons, some exclusively to share our scholarly work and perspective, and others for a mixture of these reasons.  I have witnessed enough attacks on scholars by conservatives, bigots, trolls, and even other academics to conclude that no one is shielded from backlash.  While our academic freedom is generally protected (though, that statement is debatable), we can no longer expect our colleagues, departments, universities, disciplines, and professional organizations to stand up for us when we come under attack.

The Times (And Attacks) Have Changed

The rules of engagement have changed.  We now live in a time when a 20-year-old college sophomore, who writes for a student newspaper to expose “liberal bias and abuses at Texas colleges” (

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Stealth legislation on GE Trees in New Zealand? – Global Justice Ecology Project

The government of New Zealand are being accused of legislating by stealth by tearing down local protections that prohibit GMOs and GE Trees.

The proposed National Environment Standard on Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) would loosen restrictions on genetically modified pine trees and force councils to remove wording around genetically engineered trees from their policies and plan changes.

Whangarei District Council team leader of futures planning Kerry Grundy said the GMO

provisions seemed to have come “all of a sudden”.

“People are saying: why have you slipped this in? It’s overriding what councils want to do. If we have provisions around GM pine trees – which we do at the moment – we will have to take them out,” he said.

Read the full article from the Northern Advocate here.

via Stealth legislation on GE Trees in New Zealand? – Global Justice Ecology Project.

The Culture of a World Without Oil —by Barry Lord. on Medium

Margaret Atwood’s brilliant contribution to this discussion analyzes the salient features of the climate change that we can now recognize as the inevitable outcome of the culture of consumption that oil and gas made possible. An Encyclical from Pope Francis was the most recent mainstream identification of this linkage, specifically focused on its cultural implications. As Atwood observes, my 2014 book Art& Energy: How Culture Changes (The AAM Press) demonstrates how all of our external energy sources have been accompanied by cultural transitions, from the mastery of fire and the culture of community around the hearth that it made possible to the culture of stewardship of the earth and the body that we are adopting as we switch to renewable energy.

Now we have daily news of the struggle between that incoming culture and the still dominant oil-based culture of consumption on which we are so dependent. By the culture of consumption I mean a culture that values buying things, experiences and brands in and for itself; we were shopping long before oil and gas, but their plenitude stimulated an entire way of life, especially associated with the automobile, that initially became visible after the First World War in the ‘Roaring Twenties’ (cf. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Great Gatsby), but really took over after World War II as oil replaced coal as the dominant global energy source beginning in the early 1960s. Supplanting the coal-based culture that depended on a disciplined work force, oil and gas made possible a widespread culture that has certainly benefited many, but which rested on ultimately unsustainable assumptions. Whereas people in the coal culture were defined in relation to the production process (as workers or capitalists, for instance), in a world powered by oil and gas we were all encouraged to see ourselves simply as consumers.

The challenge today is to define and describe the emerging culture of stewardship of the earth and the body that is so closely associated with renewable energy. A world without oil will have to be a world with fully developed renewable energy sources and the culture of stewardship that goes with them. Solar panels, wind turbines and geothermal wells provide energy by means of technology only. No fuel is needed. Once the apparatus is installed, there is nothing more to buy. The culture of consumption will no longer be rooted in our energy supply.

Even more important, by fully utilizing a global two-way power grid every building can become a producer as well as a consumer of energy. This depends on a means of storage so that we or others can access power when we need it, not just when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. Storage of energy and of data (which can be seen as a kind of congealed energy) becomes a significant value in itself, resulting in stern penalties for hackers and a global grass-roots struggle to retain access to data banks in people’s hands and minds, rather than in the exclusive domain of governments.

Access for use and capacity to store and share the goods of this world is what matters for stewardship. Acquisition, consumption and ownership are secondary. Mutual stocks collectively owned by all concerned may accordingly become the preferred model, rather than the private investment fortunes of today. A circular economy can be conceived, whereby the real cost of all products is redeemed through multiple uses of everything: there would be no such thing as a ‘waste product’. Already we see a fledgling ‘sharing economy’ — Airbnb, Uber and much more — growing stronger daily.

In a world without oil, shopping will no longer focus our culture as it does today. Fashion will be transformed into trading, swapping and adapting our clothes to function effectively in every season. Currently millions of garments are discarded annually in every industrial country, and sending them to third world countries destroys the indigenous clothing industries there. Binge shopping and the annual Xmas celebration of consumerism will increasingly be questioned or rejected by a growing number of people committed to a culture that abhors waste.

via The Culture of a World Without Oil — Medium.

BBC World Service – The Documentary, Company v Country

We investigate the booming and lucrative business of multinational companies suing governments. The strangely-named investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) system is built into thousands of treaties between… Read more..

via BBC World Service – The Documentary, Company v Country.

Russell Norman, New Zealand Green Party: “If you want to understand Investor State Disputes Settlement clauses in trade agreements, and how important they are, spend 26 minutes listening to this great BBC radio documentary. You will never regret it.”

We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian

We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change, generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. The more we grow using conventional methods, the more we exacerbate the problem. It’s time for a climate-smart agriculture but first we must address a few man-made problems.

First, there is a frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture in the current global climate talks leading up to the Paris conference later this year. By definition, food production affects all countries, rich and poor, and it is hard to imagine any effective post-Kyoto climate change agreement that ignores 25% of the problem. So, we need a climate change agreement where agriculture is a big part of the solution, and delivers a triple win: higher agricultural productivity to feed more people and raise the incomes of poor farmers – especially women, greater climate resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

via We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? | Global Development Professionals Network | The Guardian.

FATAL EXTRACTION

Australia is a giant in African mining, but its vast — and in some cases deadly — footprint has never been examined.

Australian-listed mining companies are linked to hundreds of deaths and alleged injustices which wouldn’t be tolerated in better-regulated nations.

The stories that follow are from people across Africa, rarely heard outside their own communities.

via FATAL EXTRACTION.

Open letter on the Border Force Act: ‘We challenge the department to prosecute’ | Australia news | The Guardian

Open letter regarding the Border Force Act 2015

Today the Border Force Act comes into force. It includes provision for a two-year jail sentence for “entrusted persons” such as ourselves if we continue to speak out about the deplorable state of human rights in immigration detention without the express permission of the minister for immigration and border protection. This strengthens the wall of secrecy which prevents proper public scrutiny.

If we witness child abuse in Australia we are legally obliged to report it to child protection authorities

We have advocated, and will continue to advocate, for the health of those for whom we have a duty of care, despite the threats of imprisonment, because standing by and watching sub-standard and harmful care, child abuse and gross violations of human rights is not ethically justifiable.

If we witness child abuse in Australia we are legally obliged to report it to child protection authorities. If we witness child abuse in detention centres, we can go to prison for attempting to advocate for them effectively. Internal reporting mechanisms such as they are have failed to remove children from detention; a situation that is itself recognised as a form of systematic child abuse.

Evidence of the devastating effects of institutional self-protection and blindness to child abuse has been presented before the current royal commission. We are determined not to collude with a system that repeats these same mistakes.

Why we spoke out: former detention centre workers explain

Paul Farrell

Read more

There are currently many issues which constitute a serious threat to the health of those in detention for whom we have a duty of care. The Department of Immigration and Border Protection is aware of these problems and has for years failed to address them adequately.

We are aware that in publishing this letter we may be prosecuted under the Border Force Act and we challenge the department to prosecute so that these issues may be discussed in open court and in the full view of the Australian public.

Detention centre staff speak out in defiance of new asylum secrecy laws

Read more

Dr John-Paul Sanggaran, MBBS M.H.Med B.H.Sc, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Richard Kidd, BHB, MBChB, Dip.Obs., FAMA, Deputy Chair AMACGP, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Grant Ferguson, MBBS B.Sc (Hons), former IHMS medical officer

Dr Ben Hew, MBBS B.Sc, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Alison Bleaney, MBchB FRACRRM OBE, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Merrilyn Williams, MBBS, M. (GP Psych) FACRRM, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Ai-Lene Chan, MBBS FRACGP ObsSC MPH&TM, former IHMS medical officer

Dr John Vallentine, MBBS MRCP, former IHMS medical officer

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Dr Jill Maxwell, MBBS OAM, former IHMS medical officer

Dr Sally Manuell, MBBS FRACGP, former IHMS medical officer

Prof Bernard Pearn-Rowe, BSc (Hons), MBBS, FAMA, former IHMS medical officer

Tracey Donehue, secondary school teacher

Judith Reen, secondary school coordinator

Jane Willey, former secondary school teacher

Evan Davis, former senior secondary school teacher

Dr Peter Young, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS medical director mental health services

Steve Brooker, BSc MA, former IHMS director of mental health services

Dr Rodney Juratowitch, MBBS FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist

Dr Amanda Trenaman, MBBS, FRANZCP, former IHMS psychiatrist

Prof Robert Adler, PhD MBBS, former IHMS psychiatrist

Ryan Essex, BHSc, Grad Dip Psych, BSocSc (Psych), (Hons), MHL, MPH, former IHMS counsellor

James Harris, former case manager and residential youth worker

Toby Gunn, former child and youth recreation officer

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Samantha Betts, BA, former child and youth recreation worker

Martin Reusch, former humanitarian worker

Timm Knapp, former humanitarian worker

Amanda Lloyd-Tait, former humanitarian worker

Jennifer Dennis, former humanitarian worker

Amy Marden, former humanitarian worker

Prof David Isaacs, MBBChir MD FRACP FRCPCH, former IHMS paediatrician

Dr Hasantha Gunasekera, MBBS FRACP, former IHMS paediatrician

Alanna Maycock, BN RN, former IHMS paediatric nurse

Prof Louise Newman, MBBS PhD FANZCP AM, former DEHAG consultant IHMS psychiatrist

Dr Micheal Dudley, AM MBBS BD FRANZCP, former DEHAG consultant

Prof Caroline de Costa, PhD MPH MBBS BA FRANZCOG FRCOG, former DEHAG consultant

Viktoria Vibhakar, MSW, LCSW, AASW, former senior child protection and support worker

Ashleigh Millard, former adult case manager and social worker

Jaime O’donovan, former social worker, child protection team

Hamish Tacey, BBehavSc, former unaccompanied minor team leader and refugee assistance program case manager

Serena Hansen, former case manager and residential team leader

Marc Isaacs, BA (Com), BA (Int.S), former recreations manager

via Open letter on the Border Force Act: ‘We challenge the department to prosecute’ | Australia news | The Guardian.

Continued destruction of Earth’s plant life places humankind in jeopardy, says UGA research | UGA Today

Athens, Ga. – Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth’s declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a paper published recently by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

via Continued destruction of Earth’s plant life places humankind in jeopardy, says UGA research | UGA Today.

Global threat interactive: What’s the world scared of? | News | The Guardian

Climate change is what the world’s population perceives as the top global threat, followed by global economic instability and Isis, according to research conducted by the Pew Research Center

Read more on the datablog

via Global threat interactive: What’s the world scared of? | News | The Guardian.

Dutch city of Utrecht to experiment with a universal, unconditional ‘basic income’

Radical Ecological Democracy - RED

Original Article published at :
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/dutch-city-of-utrecht-to-experiment-with-a-universal-unconditional-income-10345595.html

dutch_1 The University College Utrecht has paired with the city to see if a system of welfare without requirements will produce an efficient society

The Dutch city of Utrecht will start an experiment which hopes to determine whether society works effectively with universal, unconditional income introduced.

The city has paired up with the local university to establish whether the concept of ‘basic income’ can work in real life, and plans to begin the experiment at the end of the summer holidays.

Basic income is a universal, unconditional form of payment to individuals, which covers their living costs. The concept is to allow people to choose to work more flexible hours in a less regimented society, allowing more time for care, volunteering and study.

University College Utrecht has paired with the city to place people on welfare on a living income, to see if a system…

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