Here, There and Everywhere

Archive for October, 2012

Walls of Death

Dear Gabriel,

Sea Turtles Caught in “Walls of Death”

Endangered turtles and whales need your help. Deadly drift gillnets off the coast of California are threatening the lives of leatherback turtles, sperm whales, and other marine animals. These mile-long nets, left out overnight to catch swordfish, create an underwater “wall of death” for anything unlucky enough to swim into them.

These nets should be banned, but instead the fishery may soon expand. We’re fighting to protect these rare and important creatures, but we need your support. Donate $10 today and your gift will be DOUBLED!

Oceana.org

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My Son Linus

Gabriel,

My son Linus loves to play video games, his favorite food is mac n cheese, and he was born with Asperger syndrome. We take Linus to a therapist for treatment — but now our health insurance company is planning to stop covering his visits, just because he’s turning 9 years old.

I was shocked when I found out that United Healthcare stops covering Asperger’s treatment at such a young age, forcing families like mine to pay thousands of dollars a year to continue caring for our children’s conditions.

I want Linus and kids like him to grow up with the best chance for a full and happy life. That’s why I started a petition on Change.org asking United Healthcare to change its policy and cover treatment for Aspergers and other autism spectrum disorders after age 9.

Click here to sign my petition.

Linus is beginning a chapter in his life when social skills are going to become very important. He has already experienced some teasing and bullying at school from classmates who don’t understand his condition. This is not just heartbreaking for me, but devastating for a kid that doesn’t understand how to do things like everyone else.

As a mom, I worry most about the isolation and depression that many children with Aspergers suffer from. I’ve read that kids with Aspergers are about 30% more likely to commit suicide than the population at large. That is a staggering amount — and it’s why I’m determined to keep Linus and children like him in the therapies that will help them navigate through their pre-teen and teen years.

I’ve tried speaking with several United Healthcare representatives, but so far none of them has offered a solution, leaving my family — and hundreds of others — on the hook for thousands of dollars in treatment costs.

Health insurance companies can set their own policies. I’m hoping that if enough people speak up for Linus and other children with Aspergers, United Healthcare will be forced to reevaluate their policy and set an example to other top healthcare providers. Will you help me fight for my son?

Sign my petition now to join me in asking United Healthcare to continue covering Aspergers treatment for children after they turn 9 years old.

Thank you so much for your help.

Mindy Armbrust
Doylestown, OH
Change.org

PEN Award for Fiction

It was just announced that Deena Metzger’s novel La Negra y Blanca is the 2012 PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Literary Award Winner for Fiction.

Maxine Hong Kingston (previous PEN Oakland award winner and author of China Men and The Woman Warrior) says, “Deena Metzger has used her skills as poet to understand the end of Victor Perera’s life. As we read La Negra y Blanca, the contemporary and the mythic, our selves and our ancestors, miraculously join.”

Ariel Dorfman (author of Death and the Maiden) says, “Many meetings weave in and out of this splendid, heartbreaking novel. Meetings of multiple Americas, meetings between the living and the dead, meetings where dreams and reality, history and pain, deception and hope, intersect. But above all, what we meet in La Negra y Blanca is a ravishing wager that words can still birth us into the puzzle of existence, that we can all be mothers to one another as the storm approaches.”

Ms. Metzger’s books include Feral; Ruin and Beauty; From Grief Into Vision; A Council; Doors: A fiction for Jazz Horn; The Other Hand; Tree: A Sabbath Among the Ruins; The Woman Who Slept With Men to Take the War Out of Them; and Writing For Your Life.

Read more at Hand to Hand Publishing
Available in print at Amazon.com
Available on Kindle at Amazon
Available at small press retailer BCH

Powerful Majestic Creatures

Dear Gabriel,

Sperm whales are one of the world’s most powerful, majestic sea creatures – but they’re no match for drift gillnets.

In just one year, an estimated 16 sperm whales were drowned in gillnets off the coast of California. That’s not counting the sharks, turtles, dolphins, and other open ocean animals that are caught in greater numbers.

These nets, which are supposed to catch swordfish, are notorious for killing some of our oceans’ most endangered species. They should be banned—but instead they continue to kill turtles, sharks, whales and more.

That kind of indiscriminate killing of ocean wildlife cannot be allowed to continue, so we are fighting to stop the use of swordfish drift gillnets off the coast of California.

You can help us meet our $40,000 goal if you chip in – and until October 31, every gift you give will be MATCHED for double the impact. Donate just $10 today and join the fight to stop deadly gillnets»

The destructive power of gillnets cannot be underestimated, even for the formidable sperm whale.

Up to 65 feet long and weighing over 50 tons, these deep diving whales can hold their own against nearly anything in the oceans. But sperm whales were prized by whalers in the 18th and 19th centuries for the spermaceti oil contained in their large heads, and were hunted mercilessly.

They grow slowly, taking time to raise their young between births. Without human interference, a sperm whale may live to be 70 years old. But a young whale caught in a net doesn’t just lose those decades of life—it loses its chance to have babies and help replenish a population still struggling from the effects of whaling.

Six weeks ago, we filed our formal intent to sue the federal government for violating the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. This is precisely the kind of action that will force the government to protect endangered ocean wildlife threatened by gillnets.

While they can be expensive, these lawsuits work. A similar lawsuit in 2009 forced the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to grant protections for the endangered loggerhead and leatherback sea turtles. Our fight against the use of drift gillnets in places where endangered sea creatures reside could save more turtles and whales – but only if we have the resources we need to win.

With your help, we can continue the fight for sperm whales and other ocean creatures around the world. Give $10 today and we’ll DOUBLE your support!»

For the oceans,
Emily Fisher
Oceana

All Around The World

Dear friends,

It’s not often you get to feel the world shift a little bit — but three years ago, that’s exactly what happened.

On October 24, 2009, 350.org’s first ever day of action took the world by storm, with over 5,000 events in 181 countries. The International Day of Climate Action helped put the 350 movement on the map in every corner of the globe.

It’s hard to describe it in words, so take two minutes to watch this video — and consider chipping in to support the work ahead of us:

WATCH THE VIDEO

CNN called the event “the most widespread day of political action in our planet’s history.” Foreign Policy magazine called it “the largest ever global coordinated rally of any kind.” For 24 hours, the global climate movement was the top story on Google News.

But it isn’t the media attention that inspires me most — it’s everything that has happened since.

In the last three years, a truly global movement has risen up to fight the climate crisis. Millions of people have been touched by 350 campaigns, trainings, and mass mobilizations. We’ve launched and won critical climate battles all over the world — and we’re just getting started.

Our most important work is ahead of us — we’re planning a landmark global convergence, embarking upon an educational road-tour, and launching hard-hitting campaigns in countries all around the world.

We’re working with local groups and partners in India, the Philippines, and Australia to scale up campaigns to move beyond coal and shift to renewable energy. Our friends in France and Indonesia are carrying on the fight to #EndFossilFuelSubsidies and cut off corporate polluters from public handouts. And so it goes around the world — everywhere we’re able, we’re working with incredible grassroots activists to push for the solutions that the planet and its people so desperately need.

Whether you joined us three years ago, or just found out about 350.org yesterday, thank you for all that you do to build this movement.

Let’s keep shifting the world. Together.

Onwards,

Will Bates for the 350.org team

Rainforest Larger Than Texas

Gabriel,

An area of Indonesian rainforest larger than the state of Texas has been destroyed over the last 50 years.

The forest is being logged, burned, or pulped at an alarming rate and its products shipped around the planet. Often for throwaway things like chicken buckets and napkins. It’s bad news for the planet and really bad news for the 400 remaining Sumatran tigers that call the Indonesian rainforest home.

If we lose these last 400 tigers, there’s nothing we can do to bring them back. Now more than ever we need your help to ramp up the pressure on companies buying rainforest fiber and to save the last Sumatran tigers.

Please make your most generous contribution today toward our campaign to save the Sumatran tigers and help us reach our goal of $25,000.

I’ve personally visited the Indonesian rainforest and can honestly say that the speed and scale of the devastation is hard to believe.

The Sumatran tiger is already classified as “critically endangered” — on the brink of extinction and barely hanging on.

They’ve lost 93% of their habitat because companies like Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) are destroying their forest homes. Tigers are left to roam landscapes where they are easily slaughtered by poachers for their body parts.

How many more acres of destruction can the Sumatran tiger survive before its status moves from “critically endangered” to “extinct”? We have to act, and fast.

Thanks to our efforts KFC — one of the major buyers of Indonesian rainforest fiber — recently announced a process to examine where it gets its paper from. But a process alone isn’t going to help save the 400 remaining Sumatran tigers from extinction.

That’s why we’re ramping up our campaign right now to make sure KFC develops a global policy that rules out deforestation. This can only happen with your support.

Our efforts to put pressure on the KFC board and continue our hard-hitting international campaign by doing things like dipping the Colonel in a tank of his own sauce all depend on you.

Make a gift to help us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by October 31st to save the last Sumatran tigers.

Since Greenpeace takes absolutely no money from corporations or governments, we rely on the power of individual supporters like you. With your help, we can achieve this.

For the forests,

Rolf Skar
Greenpeace Forest Campaign Director

“Rape is God’s Gift”

Dear Gabriel,

Last night a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate claimed that raped women should be forced to carry their rapist’s baby to term because their pregnancy — a result of rape — is a “gift from God.”

Tell Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock: Rape is a heinous act of violence, and no politician should tell women that any part of being raped is a gift from God. Click here to automatically sign the petition.

Mourdock’s exact words — in the debate with his Democratic opponent — were:

“I struggled with myself for a long time but I came to realize life is that gift from God, even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape. It is something that God intended to happen.”

Mourdock is a staunch believer that abortion should be illegal even for victims of rape and incest. But even for an anti-abortion Tea Party Republican claiming that any part of of being raped is for the woman a “gift from God” is appalling.

Make no mistake: Tea Party Republicans like Mourdock will stop at nothing to send women back to the Stone Age. And if he wins election in Indiana, he will put Republicans one seat closer to control of the Senate. And that could mean that extreme anti-woman legislation passed readily in the House — defunding Planned Parenthood, redefining rape, blocking access to birth control — would now have a shot at passing the Senate.

Rape is rape. And it is not acceptable for a Republican politician campaigning for one of the highest offices in our government to tell women that if they get pregnant as a result of rape, that it’s a “gift from God.”

Thank you for standing up for women.

Becky Bond, Political Director
CREDO Action from Working Assets

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