Updates from Mexico: After the Earthquake, in the wake of love

The following is a recent letter from Teo Martinez, the Regional Earth Guardian Crews Director in Mexico: 
 

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It is a really hard situation in México because it was one of the worse earthquakes in the history of our country. However, we are awake and there is a big movement on the rise here.  Post earthquake we are witnessing a multilevel awakening of the spirit, the mind, emotions, social welfare, and a cultural renewal in Mexico as well as for all of humanity. 

Thousands of people were displaced from their homes and are currently living on the streets, homeless.  In response, we are already revamping our cities and towns incorporating more sustainable solutions.  We have permacultural expertshelping us design and rebuild our houses in a ecologically sound ways.  

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EG Africa is building solutions through their "Youth Camp for the Environment" Project!

Youth Camp for Environment

Written by Mensa Tsedze, Earth Guardians Africa Coordinator

In order to give a basic environmental education to the younger generation of the Togolese people and to take concrete action in the face of climate change, a camp is taking place from 11 to 17 September 2017. This camp, called "YOUTH CAMP FOR THE ENVIRONMENT", is organized in close collaboration with Earth Guardians Africa, IDEAS For Us and the Canton Chefs with the support of solutions fund.

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Indeed, this camp falls within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this case Goals 13, 14 and 15 relating to the protection of the environment and climate will be addressed. This camp will focus on the awareness and training of young people under the age of 18 on the causes and consequences of climate change as well as the approaches to solutions that ensure a more liveable future for generations to come up. This training will be followed by a reforestation session during which each participant is required to put a young plant in the ground and maintain it until it fully develops. We also seek to cultivate the sense of responsibility of this young generation by forming teams responsible for the maintenance of their locality and by making them ambassadors for climate justice.

Pictures above from most recent planting and education events at the college Boudè Koufoulmdè where they planted around 300 plants.

This camp will cover a total of five (5) localities: Waragni (in Blitta) and its neighboring villages; Soumdina Haut, Soumdina Bas, Yadè and Bohou for the Kara region. On the threshold of this "YOUTH CAMP FOR THE ENVIRONMENT"; more than 5,000 trees will be planted and more than 6,000 young people will be equipped to fight climate change, protect aquatic life and make reasonable use of the energy we have.

Video from most recent planting event.

English translation: "My name is Ouro I am Director of the college Boudè Koufoulmdè and spokesperson of the community. We had received an offer of 300 plants from IDEAS for Campus for reforestation in our school. After that we had made binomes and we had given instructions to the students about the interview. This protective activity was an optional subject and the marks received are contacted on the transcripts. And the students received grades based on their efforts. We are pleased to be beneficiaries of this program and especially the tree planting programs which also desertification. This information workshop has been very productive but if IDEAS and Earth Guardians can take into consideration our new class construction grievances, this will help in the fight against desertification and we will put parents and children at the service of protection of the environment . Our community and I are committed to protecting the environment and we are ready to do what is necessary to protect the climate and convey the message."

Pictures above from past plantings events across Togo earlier this year.

Each Step We Take is a Prayer to a Just Transition

Each Step We take is a Prayer to a Just Transition

Written by: Isabella Zizi, Earth Guardians Bay Area crew leader and incredible RYSE youth council member

As a young indigenous woman in today’s society, I feel that it is my duty and obligation to be a beacon of hope and transformation for the future generations to come. We are living in a time when we simply forgot our original instructions from what Mother Earth has always offered us; LIFE.

This ideal western social concept of “the American dream,” and being so wrapped up with consumption and greed, is at the root of us ignoring our true selves. Mother Earth has done her job at letting us live day by day, but the distractions of our daily lives has us forgetting to care and protect Mother Earth just as she needs of us. 

Photo by: WECAN's Alana Conner

Photo by: WECAN's Alana Conner

If we do not stand up for clean air, water, and soil now, life on mother earth will not continue, and we cannot let that happen. We don’t have time to wait for those in power to find a solution, the people are rising and waking up, and now the future lies in our hands and the decisions we make. There is no longer a veil to cover up unwanted struggles to keep our waters, lands, and bodies clean and safe, and it is time to act in a peaceful and prayerful way.

I have lived in Richmond, California for 23 years and am very well connected with the progressive community here, but it hasn’t always been like that. When I was a child, I had to learn multiple evacuation drills, not just for earthquakes, but for unexpected explosions from the nearby oil refinery. “Stand firmly between the doorways or hide underneath the tables.” our teachers explained “If you start to smell something that you aren’t used to, shut your windows and cover any open cracks or crevices with old towels or shirts.” At that age, it didn’t make any sense to me. Then, on August 6, 2012 , the Chevron Refinery had an old pipe burst. I was outside enjoying the beautiful summer weather with my family and neighbors when we heard a loud boom and a sudden disappearance of the sun. enormous roaring black clouds shot straight into the sky with a couple more booms following it. At that moment, my mother had yelled “Chevron just exploded, get in the house now” that is when that evacuation drill came back and made perfect sense.

The explosion didn’t just send 15,000 Richmond residents to the emergency room, it also contaminated our bay, air, and soil and all of life that was exposed to it. All who were affected are walking and living proof that we cannot depend on the fossil fuel industry anymore. Communities like mine who are affected by explosions, oil spills, and air pollution can no longer fish in our oceans, or fully connect to Mother Earth when we do gardening because we are given warnings of health issues or high levels of contamination.

This is why I joined the climate justice movement, because my story needed to be heard. I understand the crucial times we are in, and the need to find that just transition away from the fossil fuel industry. I am blessed to be surrounded by my indigenous grandmothers and elders, receiving their guidance as they walk me down this path. It is an honor to continue to pass their knowledge and encouragement to strengthen and uplift those who haven’t yet found their spark or support to be reminded to walk with dignity, love, and in a prayer for all of life on Mother Earth and for those yet to come.

Photo by: Peg Hunter

Photo by: Peg Hunter

I was introduced to Idle No More SF Bay by Pennie Opal Plant in 2014 when she invited me to attend one of their grandmothers prayer group meetings. I fell in love with their devotion on creating a positive change concerning Indigenous rights and the Rights of Mother Earth. Around this same time, the Refinery Healing Walks were born and Idle No More SF Bay made a four year commitment to walk from one refinery town to the next from 2014 to 2017.

There are five oil refineries along the Northeast bay of San Francisco; (Pittsburg) Tesoro, (Martinez) Shell, (Benicia) Valero, (Rodeo) Conoco-Phillips 66, and (Richmond) Chevron. These walks connect the dots of the different sacrifice zones and educate those who are unaware about these industries. We walk for clean air, water, and soil, and for a just transition so that all life on Mother Earth including our non-human relatives may continue to live in a sufficient way.

My first walk awakening was May 2015 when we walked from the Shell refinery in Martinez to the Valero refinery in Benicia. Each walk begins with a water ceremony and we invite all participants to combine collected water from their watershed to be placed in a pail that is carried until we hit our ending destination. Indigenous leaders start us off with a grounding prayer and explanation of how walking is healing medicine for us. The grandmothers lead the way with a shake of their rattles and the beat of the drum complimented with a beautiful women warrior song.

Photo By: Leon Sun

Photo By: Leon Sun

I had the opportunity to collect the water that morning at the Martinez Shoreline and was surprised by a curious beaver. We had our traditional medicine and were singing a water song and giving our blessings to the beaver as it was swimming in figure eights watching us. I took on an important role to be a monitor for this walk and I felt a sense of protection and guidance for all of those who were with us, including our non-human relatives who were flying above and crawling below. As I made my way from the front of the line to the end, I was in this zen mode from the quiet prayers to the peaceful conversations that followed.

This experience helped me understand that it wasn’t just an all day commitment of walking, it was a statement and each step was a prayer for new beginnings. That small connection with the beaver showed that they are listening and I had so much gratitude from then on.

Photo by: Peg Hunter

Movements have sparked up like Black Lives Matter, climate justice and immigration rights, all of these empower the human race to continue in a peaceful and balanced way. It is not always easy to think and act in this way, but we have to remember that these movements continue to roll out an even bigger outcome than ourselves: a better life for our future generations. It is important for us to lay out what we are for rather than what we are against, and that is how I believe we will make a difference.

I was a participant in the 2015 first ever White House tribal youth gathering where I met over one thousand other amazing and inspiring youth who are creating positive changes for Indian Country. I was part of an environmental workshop where we were able to express the challenges and successes happening in our community to federal officials.

This is where I found my voice and was able to find my true passion on continuing my involvement around environmental issues and uplifting the younger generation to get involved themselves. In reality, this is our future that is at risk and it is important for us to create change now so that way we won’t have to worry about when we get older. I now want to take my story and this work to the international arena, because this global crisis demands a global movement to rise up.

Photo by: Leon Sun

Photo by: Leon Sun

Not all heroes wear capes, and my heroes have been the frontline activists who put their bodies on the line understanding that now is the time to act by disrupting business as usual and visually being noticeable through creative art. Our ancestors, our non-human relatives, and the next seven generations should be our focus during these movements and moments in time. Just imagine, what will you tell your great great grandchild when they ask you, “what you did during your lifetime when the world was in a crisis?” Let this replay in your mind and always remember, the choices we make now will fall in the hands of those yet to come.

Calling All Earth Guardian Crews to Action: #PledgeToPlant Earth Day Challenge!

#PledgeToPlant Earth Day Challenge! 

How many trees can you inspire your community to plant by Earth Day?

We all know the problems uprooting our families and communities, but who will be courageous enough to plant the solution? Planting trees is a powerful and effective way to address many aspects of climate injustices like water scarcity and soil health, and are one of the best ways to pull carbon out of the atmosphere!

How many trees can you inspire your community to plant by Earth Day? Let’s find out! The crew that gets the most trees planted will win Earth Guardians swag and social media exposure!

Your Action Tool Kit

1 - Sign the #PledgeToPlant

2 - Share on social media leading up to Earth Day that you #PledgeToPlant. Tag Earth Guardians and ForestNation in your posts: 

  • Facebook - @EarthGuardiansTribe @imagineforestnation
  • Twitter  - @earthguardianz @ForestNation
  • Instagram - @earthguardians @imagineforestnation

3 - Set a goal and see how many others in your community you can inspire to #PledgeToPlant. More info

4 - Get seeds/saplings here:
www.forestnation.com
https://www.plant-for-the-planet.org/en/home

Or write a donation request to your local tree nursery (if you're unsure how to do this- feel free to email to get clarity)

5- Organize a community planting on Earth Day, or just go plant some trees with your crew - every tree planted is a step toward the sustainable future we envision! If it's not planting season you can #PledgeToPlant at a later date and instead make art/music or host an educational event.

6 - Make a gif of your planting progress and share it on social media with hashtag #PledgeToPlant and tag Earth Guardians and ForestNation (as always, if you are under the age of 13, practice good online safety and check in with your parents before posting publicly or ask them to help you share). Here’s one to get you started

7 - Add your total trees or have your local Earth Guardian Crew add your community's total number of trees planted. Find a crew to support here

We’ll announce our total Earth Guardians trees planted from all crews and the Crew that rocked the most trees planted! Get involved on whatever level you can - you don’t have to do it all but together we can do so much.

Stand with Youth Suing Trump in light of Keystone XL Approval

Stand with Youth Suing Trump in light of Keystone XL Approval

By Morgan Curtis and Daniel Jubelirer (shared from www.ourchildrenstrust.org/blog)

President Trump has now signed a Presidential Permit to advance construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. We at Our Children’s Trust stand in solidarity with all those who have been fighting KXL on the front-lines for the past seven years, including the Cheyenne River Sioux, Oglala and Rosebud Sioux Tribes, and denounce this latest attack on our climate, water, health and indigenous rights.

President Trump is a named defendant in our federal lawsuit, and this dangerous and reckless approval is yet another example of the US government taking affirmative action to destabilize our climate. The federal government has known about climate change since the 1950s, including the danger to ecosystems, human lives and future generations. And yet, despite this knowledge, the federal government has consistently and aggressively promoted a fossil fuel energy system.

Source: Newsplex.com

Source: Newsplex.com

If built, the Keystone XL pipeline would epitomize this dangerous and negligent pattern of decision making by the federal government. #KXL would be responsible for at least 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year, comparable to the tailpipe emissions from more than 37.7 million cars or 51 coal-fired power plants. Tar sands crude is significantly more carbon intensive than conventional crude, and just the additional emissions from the tar sands in Keystone XL - above average emissions from producing non-tar sands oil - are equal to Americans driving more than 60 billion additional miles every year. All when we need to be reducing our carbon emissions. Building and operating the Keystone XL pipeline would be a climate crime.

This #youthvgov lawsuit (Juliana v. U.S.) was brought by young people who are rising up to protect their futures and defend the planet from climate injustice. Young people, communities of color, and low-income communities are on the front-lines of the climate crisis and we need to stand together now. In the face of the Keystone XL approval, the climate recovery remedy our youth are suing for is needed more than ever. The youth plaintiffs seek a court-ordered national Climate Recovery Plan that would put us on the path towards a climate stable future, making new dirty energy projects such as the Keystone XL Pipeline illegal, as well as any other new major fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

Action in the courts is needed now, in addition to action in the streets. While the Trump administration moves to approve the KXL permit, government and fossil fuel defendant lawyers have also moved to delay our lawsuit. We call on our allies and supporters to stand with us, to stand with the youth and future generations, and loudly and clearly say no to the Keystone XL pipeline and similar pipeline projects that threaten our future. Join us.

Morgan Curtis is serving as Digital Storyteller for Our Children’s Trust, working on amplifying the #youthvgov story around our nation and the world. You can contact her at morgan@ourchildrenstrust.org.

Daniel Jubelirer is a National Climate Campaign Field Organizer for Our Children’s Trust, supporting grassroots and nationwide mobilization for the #youthvgov lawsuit. You can reach him at daniel@ourchildrenstrust.org.

Lead plaintiff Kelsey Juliana speaks out outside the Wayne Morse Courthouse in Eugene, OR, where the historic #youthvgov trial will be held. Photo: Robin Loznak Photography

Lead plaintiff Kelsey Juliana speaks out outside the Wayne Morse Courthouse in Eugene, OR, where the historic #youthvgov trial will be held. Photo: Robin Loznak Photography

The True Costs of Climate Change

The True Costs of Climate Change

Written by: Hallie Wong

I find that the best thing about nature is the beauty of it. The brilliant colors of flowers in the summer and spring, the fiery vibrancy of the leaves that fall in autumn, the shimmer of the sun glimmering through the clouds onto the snow in winter. And those are just the sights. Then, of course, there’s beauty in the symphony of sounds that echo from nature. The thundering rush of waterfalls, the whistling gusts of the wind, the pattering of rain dripping from the clouds. Then the tastes! Sugary honey fresh from the comb, ice cold water from streams, crisp and sweet fruit from the trees and the bushes. The scent of flowers in the wild, of dark soil under fingers, of salty sea water on the beach. And of course, the feelings! The touch of coarse sand in your hands, of velvety flower petals on your skin, of cold wind slipping across your face.

    I grew up in Colorado, so I’ve seen all this. Just writing this, I can easily picture every single thing I’ve written, effortlessly conjuring the scenes into my head. I have lived here my entire life, being able to hike trails, paddleboard lakes, ski mountains. The last one is my favorite. I’ve been skiing since I was four years old, racing down the slopes, right behind my parents, trekking through powder to the lifts, sipping hot chocolate as a blizzard raged outside. Unfortunately, that’s all starting to go away.

    When we first moved into our house, in 2007, it was April, and there was a foot of snow on the ground outside. Today, only ten years later, it’s March, and outside, it’s been 70°F and sunny all month. When I first skied, there was often a fresh dusting of snow on the ground, and we’d have to bundle up tight to keep warm. Now, the snow is slushy, and we ski with our jackets unzipped and skipping our gloves all together.

    It just makes me sad, knowing that if we continue on the path that we’re on, one day, we won’t even be able to ski anymore. Snow just isn’t what it used to be, and someday (maybe soon) it will cease to exist altogether. I would hate to see the day when grandparents are sitting around, telling their grandchildren of that mystical time called “winter” when it was still cold outside, and white covered the ground. As I said before though, if we continue on this path, that may become a reality.

    So, what’s causing this, exactly? Everyone’s heard of climate change. Yes, there are some who will still deny it’s existence, but the truth of the matter is: the Earth is heating up, and humans aren’t helping solve the problem. Most scientists agree that “the Greenhouse Effect” is the primary cause of climate change. This happens when the atmosphere traps heat radiating from Earth toward space. We, the human race, use fossil fuels (such as coal, natural gas, and crude oil) to power everything. The thing is, while we may think of these resources as expendable, they  aren’t. Not only are these nonrenewable resources, but they also pollute the air, only continuing to heat the atmosphere.

    Naturally, the next question is: What are we going to do about it? There is no single solution to the issue of climate change. The first ideal solution is a new way of energy efficiency. The energy that’s used to power houses, run cars, and heat buildings is the single largest contributor to the greenhouse effect, and thus to global warming. Retrofitting our current methods of energy usage, and finding a better usage of renewable resources, would greatly benefit the earth. Along those lines, we should also begin to phase out the greenhouse gases that we currently use. We can replace them with the renewable resources, moving towards a the reversal of global warming and a sustainable world, benefiting both the earth and it’s inhabitants.

    In conclusion, climate change is ruining the earth. Everything that I love about nature is melting or not growing or dying because of what’s happening. The best and most helpful thing that we can do now is to just do everything we can to help save our planet, by implementing renewable energy in our communities, planting trees, and finding news ways to make our way of life energy efficient and non-harmful. This shift is possible and its already happening in many ways. Let's make these changes together and walk down the path to a sustainable future.

   

Xiuhtezcatl in Aotearoa—January, 2017

Xiuhtezcatl in Aotearoa—January, 2017

After almost a year in planning, Xiuhtezcatl Tonatiuh arrived at the Wellington airport on January 3, 2017. His new year began by boarding the plane for New Zealand on New Years’ Day. New Zealand is the land of first light, the first country to see the new day and the new year, and this is where the Kid Warrior (now deemed ‘Mana Warrior’ by me), initiated his year of massive challenge and accomplishment.

What a Tree is Worth: In Terms Even a Banker Can Comprehend

What a Tree is Worth: In Terms Even a Banker Can Comprehend

An article was published recently by CNN illustrating the success of British entrepreneur, Leo De Watts, with his recently-formed company, Aethaer They are marketing, selling, and shipping 550mL (20oz) containers of fresh Britain countryside air to buyers in China who have become sick of breathing the heavily polluted atmosphere currently existing there, mainly due to the dominant coal industry.

Reflections on COP22 from Earth Guardians Africa.

Reflections on COP22 from Earth Guardians Africa.

This past November, the UN Conference of Parties popularly referred to as COP22, ended in Marrakesh with Countries from all over the world coming to an agreement named the Marrakesh Action Proclamation. COP22, which was beautifully hosted by the government and people of Morocco, most importantly set a deadline of 2018 for the completion of a rule book that will guide the implementation of the Paris Agreement from COP21.

The Things That Power Us

The Things That Power Us

At a very young age, I found my self fascinated by both science and nature. My love for both formed around the same time and by the time I was six I had developed an inventor's mentality, the  “what can I fix today” mindset. I wanted so badly to put an end to global warming, pollution, and anything harmful to the earth. I had plenty of great ideas, but no one listens to children.  

Humanity's Plastic Addiction: Saving Our Ocean

Humanity's Plastic Addiction: Saving Our Ocean

Plastic is having a devastating effect on our oceans, our wildlife and ultimately on us as a human species.The introduction of plastic in the 20th century has led us to become increasingly reliant on its use and now a large percentage of almost everything we buy contains plastic. However, while we are happy to use it we are less adept at recycling it and the sad fact is that less than 10% of the plastic we produce gets recycled.

Earth Guardians Bhutan CNR's Cleaning Campaign along Metsina Stream

Earth Guardians Bhutan CNR's Cleaning Campaign along Metsina Stream

The environmental health of the stream is of paramount importance to innumerable aquatic lives in it and beyond. For the assurance of a clean and safe home, about sixty five members of Earth Guardians Bhutan CNR did a thorough clean up of the heavily polluted stream. It is also known that the downstream community uses the same stream to feed their paddy fields even though the water is quite toxic and waste-ridden.

Why we must support Earth Guardians

Why we must support Earth Guardians

The biggest fear on the Earth nowadays is about climate change. The legacy we should leave for the future generations is engaged in a dangerous situation. The Earth needs a new way of development, a new vision of production and consumption, a new kind of leadership, and also the ability for young people to take matters into their own hands and shape the future they want.