Bus stops in one Dutch city now have bee-friendly green roofs

Dutch city bus stops now have #greenroofs that look great and are bee-friendly #p2

Wasps kill pest insects. Want a free wasp house for your garden?

A friend is giving away a wasp house. Wasps are good for gardens because they gobble up lots of insect pests. Edwin has one already and doesn’t need two – so he’s giving one away. If you want a wasp house you can pick this one up in north Jersey– or maybe get instructions for getting a new one made. Just reach out to me @kimiwei on Twitter or thekimiwei on Facebook and I’ll arrange the pickup.

Please bear in mind that wasps cannot be housed near beehives, because they kill bees too. read more

Bill Maher guest talks about Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s excellent training

Bill Maher guests
Bill Maher guests

If you’re still wondering whether Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is worth putting time into, here’s another testimony to mull over. On Bill Maher’s RealTime, guest Bradley Whitford talks about the high quality training CCL offers to teach Americans how to talk about climate change with Republicans. Because climate change needs to be a lobbying priority and conversations about it must take place on both sides of the aisle.

Jemez Principles for democratic organizing: a guide

On December 6-8, 1996, forty people of color and European-American representatives met in Jemez, New Mexico, for the “Working Group Meeting on Globalization and Trade.” The Jemez meeting was hosted by the Southwest Network for Environmental and Economic Justice with the intention of hammering out common understandings between participants from different cultures, politics and organizations. The following “Jemez Principles” for democratic organizing were adopted by the participants.

March for a Clean Energy Revolution | Marcha por la Energía Renovable

Join the March for a Clean Energy Revolution on Sunday, 24 July 2016 in Philly.
Únese a la Marcha por la transición inmediata a la energía renovable el domingo 24 julio 2016.

Find a bus or carpool to the march.
Buscar transporte por bus ó ride compartido a la marcha.

Scholarship tickets available. If you need one contact Matt Smith 201-321-1967.
Los pasajes se pueden obsequiar para los que necesitan una mano para poder asistir la marcha. Contáctame por email ó al teléf 862-203-8814 por mayor información.

DC lawyer gives up career to live in a Louisiana tent & help her people

Colette Pichon Battle
Source: Lady

Colette Pichon Battle returned to Louisiana to help the community members who had bought fish dinners cooked by her family members in order to pay the fees that helped her become an attorney … and stayed. Pichon Battle gave up her DC career to establish the non-profit Gulf Coast Center for Law and Policy, that helps with a variety of life and legal issues that confront people rebuilding their lives in the wake of Katrina and the burden of generations of endemic poverty and environmental justice challenges.

CounterPunch tells the story of Ms. Pichon Battle‘s background and education, which informed her career choices. NeighborWorks America and StoryCorps’ video about Colette’s service includes images by Lady.

I come from a strong line of south Louisiana women who love the land and the water and the birds and the sky and the trees. We understand our entire existence requires a balance on this earth. I’d like to make sure that legacy is there when I’m gone.

~ Colette Pichon Battle

Hat tip to Jacqui Patterson for sharing the CounterPunch story.

This year’s NJ Urban Mayor’s Conf on 5/5 features Urban Ag – public is invited to attend, free

Urban Ag Mayor's Conf bannerThe NJ Urban Mayors Association (NJUMA) will convene the 2016 Urban Agriculture as an Economic Development Tool Conference in Trenton, NJ this coming Thursday on May 5. The event is open to the public and is free, but we ask that you register.

Municipalities and partners across the state will be introduced to the economic possibilities that exist through urban agriculture. Participants will gather and demonstrate their commitment to the shared goals of creating jobs, growing our economy and improving our quality of life.

This conference is intentionally designed to attract and facilitate interaction, learning, and information exchange among a diverse group of stakeholders in New Jersey’s urban and rural economic development future.

Urban Agriculture as an Eco-Dev Tool Conference:
Sponsored by The NJ Urban Mayors Association
Thurs 05 May 2016 8a-5p
The War Memorial
1 Memorial Drive, Trenton, NJ 08608
Cost: free

Register, see the agenda and get other information here.

Kimi Wei and Ivan Wei have had the pleasure of helping to plan this conference and The Wei will be an event tabler.

Became a beekeeper, got stung a lot, definitely need a bee jacket & a lesson in how to work my smoker

NUCs have arrived 160422
150 NUCs on that truck and two of them are mine!

Became a beekeeper when I received 2 NUCs (5 frames) of bees at 8:20 on 22 April 2016. Got the first sting on my pinky around 8:45 – I must have been pressing on one of the little critters. By 9:15 I’d been stung 6 more times: upper arm four times plus under my shirt AND under my skirt.

Oops! forgot I shouldn’t be wearing a skirt while beekeping, but I was on my way to a Passover celebration and was dressed for the occasion. When I stopped by at home to pick something up, I heard a buzzing sound near my head and said to myself – you see, you’re so freaked out by the experience of situating your bees in the dark of night all by yourself and getting stung that now you’re imagining there are bees buzzing around your head. But then I caught a glimpse in the bathroom mirror of a bee sitting all pretty and relaxed, right on my shirt collar and the next day I found another trying valiantly to work her way out of our screened-in kitchen window. So the buzzing was bees, and not my imagination. I ended up bringing another bee with me to the seder table – found her on my hand.

Well, no lasting harm done. Bees are installed and I’m still relatively OK. These are the conclusions I can share about my first experience with beekeeping:

Bees don’t like being locked up in trunks so don’t leave them there too long. By the time I took the 2nd crew out, they were mad. Later, I found out that it’s important to orient NUCs to the same direction you’re traveling in so the frames don’t crash together when you accelerate or slow down, and I didn’t do that. Aside from being overheated, the poor guys must have gone crazy dodging death and trying to protect the queen all the time I was crashing them around while admittedly driving a little distractedly: being that I was wondering all the time if the bees in my trunk could escape into the car cabin and start flying around in there. With me.

Bees seem to like to hang out on my body. I’ve learned that some bugs do. If this bothers me I better get a suit. I’ve been thinking about that. Have decided that I’m so traumatized over being bitten that I must get a suit, and gloves. And learn to use my smoker.

It’s true that bee stings are worse to contemplate than experience. But gee, having been stung several times now in under an hour I can tell you that contemplating the next sting coming in a series is a bit disconcerting. After being stung, I did flap my hands around and do some little dances to wave the critters away from me … all the while reminding myself that this behaviour would probably be scaring those guys silly and maybe inciting them to more stings – and that I should stop being such a girl. My advise to self helped calm me down, a little bit. So much for the zen of beekeeping.

The bee under my skirt was plain old scary! Even though I knew once she had stung my belly she couldn’t do any more harm, I just didn’t want her there and crushed her dying body with my fingers through the fabric of my skirt. Poor us.

I was so glad my transport boxes had plugs I could pull out instead of the alternative – which is a little flap I would have had to play around with. Pulling the plug made it possible for me to walk quickly away after putting the box down near the hive and that’s all I wanted to do.

By a strange twist of fate, this 55 year old woman had ended up welcoming the bees and stings all by myself in the dark of night so that my two 20-something sons could arrive on time for our seder. With the wry sense of humour God likes to show me, our shipment of bees would naturally arrive on the Sabbath on the first night of Passover. Despite my unique journey, I managed to join the table not too late … about half an hour after our friends’ Hagadah reading began at 9pm.

Thanks NENJ team for getting me dispatched with my new charges as quickly as possible so I could buzz off to my adventure, and then my seder – y ou guys rock. Also thanks Rich Schluger for your tip to scrape immediately at the site of a sting to reduce venom penetration and discourage more bees from stinging there. This helped, although my 4-bite upper arm site became infected with 2 stingers I must have broken off and I ended up pretty sick for a couple of days.

Like I said, no lasting harm done but I definitely need a suit … and gloves …

Break Free into Renewable Energy Now!

Break Free Albany 2016 flyerBreak Free Albany 2016 on May 14 in Albany, NY is a mass demonstration for climate justice … a unified demand to keep fossil fuels in the ground and implement renewable energy now. Anyone interested in clean energy and a renewable energy future is welcome to attend.

Sign up for a bus departing the New Jersey area from Teaneck, Wayne, West Nyack and South Jersey. $35 round trip if you can afford the cost and scholarships available if you can’t.

Don’t let the door smack you too hard on the way out, Traitor Duncan

Arne Duncan cartoon
Caricature Credit: DonkeyHotey

Good news today for people who care about students and the state of public education in America. As HuffPost put it: Arne Duncan Resigns Amid Legacy-Threatening Student Debt Crisis. And this summer, the Center for Media and Democracy wrote this about Duncan’s failed initiative to replace public schools with charters: Charter Program Expansion Looms Despite Probes into Mismanagement and Closed Schools.

Developer-owned charter schools are publicly funded but managed privately, without the obligation to provide any public accountability for either their teaching methods or financial expenditures. Not surprising that they’re a virtual breeding ground for a level of corruption so exaggerated that it turned GW Bush’s former Assistant Secretary of Education, Diane Ravitch, into one of the country’s leading public education advocates.

The shockwaves of public education destruction and suffocating college student debt, has emanated out around the country from the Chicago hub where Arne Duncan and Rahm Emanuel kicked it off and from the White House where Duncan somehow came to roost as Education Secretary. How many times have I – and countless other social justice advocates – prayed that some real information about the horrific abyss into which American education has been shoved, would get through to our President and jolt him awake from the slumber into which his close relationship with Duncan lulled him: Duncan, the Judas who betrayed the trust of his friend and leader along with the values of the American public, all in one go. May the man’s soul be awarded whatever fate it deserves.

Al Gore
Photo Credit: Charu Gulati @teachgulati

It cannot be purely coincidental that this week at Vice President Al Gore’s Climate Reality Training in Miami, a fellow participant told Mr. Gore about the #Dyett15‘s recent 34 day hunger strike to save Chicago’s Dyett High School (achieved) and have it designated as a STEM and green technology school (not achieved). The VP asked, “Wait. Are you saying people held a hunger strike because they wanted so much for a green technology school to be created, and this wasn’t made to happen for them?”

Well yes. In a nutshell, that’s exactly what happened.

Brother Jitu Brown of the Journey 4 Justice Alliance led the education activists in the strike and on about day 20, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel agreed that Dyett would not be shut down – as had been previously announced. The activists additionally also won an “audience” with Arne Duncan. But their second most important demand – the one which motivated the strikers to continue without solid food for another two weeks – was summarily ignored by Duncan, even though it aligns perfectly with the education policy his boss framed and has promoted throughout his years in office. I mean, seriously, what was Duncan thinking?

So, today, President Obama finally announced Duncan’s resignation … and I for one, am really pleased.

ss Al Gore letter about green schools Mr. Gore asked for information about the hunger strikers and as I happen to have spent some time with the Journey 4 Justice and follow its activities, I sent him the letter you see on the right (click to enlarge).

Dawn will shine tomorrow on a brand new day in the saga of American education. I look forward to seeing how Pres. Obama, now that his vision has cleared, will use his remaining time in office to help set public education back onto the solid footing it should always occupy.

Today also marks the day of our country’s first community college shooting at Umpqua College in Oregon. I pray that the injured benefit from rapid and complete recoveries … that the family of victims who became late are comforted by the loving embrace of Our Lord and Creator and that the deceased enjoy a golden peace in the world to come, sitting at God’s right hand.

Duncan caricature by DonkeyHotey

POTUS will lead in reversing climate change & healing the world

Obama announcing Clean Power PlanSpeaking via live feed from the White House today, a visionary President Obama announced his administration’s new Clean Power Plan, which has been created to reverse climate change and help heal our world of the effects of global warming. The President joined Pope Francis in calling for global citizens and industry leaders to make immediate and sweeping changes in how we live, work and do business.

“There is such a thing as too late, when it comes to climate change,” the President commented, and pointed out that 14 of the hottest years in over 100 years of recorded history have occurred in the past 15 years.

Watch President Obama’s enthusiastically received speech:

In my lifetime, I can’t remember being so moved by a president’s speech. We look to society’s top leaders to protect and guide us, but so often they fail us instead. Today, Obama’s demeanour and announcement visibly demonstrated that he completely has our backs and I am so grateful to him.

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The President also laughed at Big Money’s false claims that environmental protections will hurt most the poor and vulnerable of our country. President Obama pointed out that neighbors in social and environmental justice communities are in reality, those being hardest hit by the impacts of fossil fuel pollution and the effects of climate change and stand to benefit most from the changes outlined in his Clean Power Plan.

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Cool tool shows you how much fossil fuel $ Congress gets

Dirty Energy MoneySearch by Zip Code, Politician or Company on Dirty Energy Money to find out how much money the fossil fuel industry is spending to influence federal politicians.

Data provided by opensecrets.org (Center for Responsive Politics) with additional analysis by Oil Change International.

Hat tip to Barbara Conover for the great find!

How SCOTUS works and why it may uphold Mercury emissions protection

Ruth-Bader-Ginsburg
CREDIT: AP PHOTO/STEPHAN SAVOIA

This article provides fascinating insights into how US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) cases get assigned to judges, and consequently, how opinions are formulated and delivered.

It also gives some hope that maybe the EPA regulations protecting us from Mercury emissions won’t be gutted – because it’s possible that one of the more liberal justices will write the opinion on that matter.