Just after dawn, on a rutted out dirt road west of Las Vegas, Nev., Bureau of Land Management Ranger Shane Nalen steers his four by four over a small hill.
“You never know what you’re going to roll up on out here,” he says, his dispatch radio squawking in the background.
A panoramic view of the rugged Nevada desert unfolds. But there’s also something peculiar. The desert carpet is lit up with reflecting lights shimmering in the soft morning sun.
Nalen stops and hops out for a closer look. It’s been a problem area for him, he says, pointing out the culprit, thousands of spent, steel shotgun shell casings. It turns out this is just one of scores of unofficial target shooting areas in Nalen’s jurisdiction.
Noam Chomsky is one of the world’s most-celebrated intellectuals, known for his writing on language and his views on US foreign policy, particularly in the Middle East. Now in his late eighties, the linguistics philosopher and Emeritus Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology near Boston is still working, writing, and speaking publicly.
He’s a quite extraordinary human being in every respect – both intellectually and personally – and we’re not in the same category.
He first emerged through his pioneering work in linguistics in the 1950s but later became a political activist and a critic of US foreign policy in Vietnam, its neo-liberal capitalism, and mainstream media.
He has been almost as prolific a writer as he has been controversial.
Born to immigrant, Ashkenazi Jewish parents in Philadelphia in the 1930s, he was exposed to radical politics through his family and local bookshops.
He became a Zionist youth leader and, according to Norman Finkelstein, “read all of Zionist literature by the age of five.”
In the 1940s, he funded his university studies by teaching Hebrew, was interested in learning Arabic but went on to major in linguistics.
Despite his Jewish origins, Chomsky became an increasing critic of Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and of US foreign policy as a whole.
“The fact that Chomsky is Jewish is secondary,” says public radio broadcaster David Barsamian. “What I think is more important is the justice of the Palestinian cause… there are few in the United States who’ve been as strong an ally and friend of the Palestinian people as Noam Chomsky.”
Chomsky’s classic works on Israel-Palestine, Peace in the Middle East (1974) and The Fateful Triangle (1983), led to his marginalisation by mainstream academia and publishing.
“In the United States maybe you get slammed or denounced or kept out of the press,” says Chomsky. “In the old Soviet Union you could end up in the Gulag, if you’re in a typical American dependency, let’s say like El Salvador, you get your brains blown up… It differs from society to society… It’s condemning power systems, so of course it’s not approved.”
“Anyone who goes against the grain in US political culture, is going to be marginalised,” says Barsamian. “The truths that Chomsky articulates are very unpopular.”
Chomsky has nevertheless managed to reach wider audiences, most notably with his book 9-11: Was There An Alternative? which put the attacks in the context of American intervention worldwide and became a bestseller.
Consisting primarily of interviews with Chomsky and other writers, academics, philosophers, social commentators and broadcasters, this film explores the breadth, originality and importance of his work; and the alternative narratives he has advanced at some of the most critical periods in recent history.
This promo video emphasizes Africa’s booming economies and determination to invest in its own potential; we also meet beneficiaries of projects funded by the Africa Solidarity Trust Fund in Sierra Leone, Rwanda and Uganda and see how their lives have been turned around. African leaders have pledged to end hunger in Africa by 2025. The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund aims at improving food security and nutrition across the continent. For the next Zero Hunger Generation in Africa: 40 million dollars, 36 countries, 15 projects, 1 united continent. The Africa Solidarity Trust Fund – by Africans for Africans.
The CITES COP-17 meetings continue in Sandton, Johannesburg. More than 120 documents and proposals are being considered by environmental ministers and stakeholders from across the world. The proposals include amendments to the list of species subject to CITES trade controls. Countries like South Africa are pushing for proposals that promote the sustainable use of natural resources, and securing the long term conservation of species. Most international attention is currently focused on the elephant poaching, putting elephant, lion, rosewood species, and sharks on the CITES lists. And the illegal trade in rhino horn and pangolin.
The pangolin is the most trafficked animal in the world. The small anteater is considered a delicacy in restaurants in the East. Their fate is also being discussed at the CITES conference in South Africa. CCTV’s Tony Cheng brings us more on that out of Vietnam
Thousands of delegates are gathered in Johannesburg in South Africa for the seventeenth Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wildlife Fauna and Flora. The CITES COP-17 conference is being held at the Sandton Convention Centre. It will run until the fifth of October. The CITES is an international agreement between governments which regulates international trade in wild fauna and flora. Its aim is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.
Welcome to Transition Studies. To prosper for very much longer on the changing Earth humankind will need to move beyond its current fossil-fueled civilization toward one that is sustained on recycled materials and renewable energy. This is not a trivial shift. It will require a major transition in all aspects of our lives.
This weblog explores the transition to a sustainable future on our finite planet. It provides links to current news, key documents from government sources and non-governmental organizations, as well as video documentaries about climate change, environmental ethics and environmental justice concerns.
The links are listed here to be used in whatever manner they may be helpful in public information campaigns, course preparation, teaching, letter-writing, lectures, class presentations, policy discussions, article writing, civic or Congressional hearings and citizen action campaigns, etc. For further information on this blog see: About this weblog. and How to use this weblog.
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