Saturday, April 27, 2013

Still Going On

There has been a lag in posting on this blog, so I am just here to assure our visitors that our group (which we have decided to call the Long Island, or LI, Action and Awareness Group) is still going on. We have been starting up again in recent weeks and meet once a week to discuss issues of injustice around the world and right here in our back yard.

A couple of Saturdays ago we attended a New York City Urban Project Feed 500 event where we went out into the city and learned how to engage with people who were homeless. It was quite a learning experience, noticing people around the city who were homeless and seeing if they would like a sandwich and some conversation, prayer, and/or resources.

Then there was a screening of the Do the Math movie last week which discusses the necessity to press legislators about climate change policies while also raising awareness and increasing advocacy among people. The movie is available online if you click the link above and it is about 45 minutes long so watch it and pass the link on to a friend.

Today, we attended a Price of Life Campaign event in NYC called "Let My People Go". The topic was human trafficking, which included trafficking for sexual exploitation as well as forced labor. Another informative and learning experience which definitely needs increased advocacy and awareness among the church community and communities in general. For more information on The Price of Life Campaign, click here.

And finally, our group is on Facebook ; click LI Action & Awareness Group on Facebook to join us.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Presidential Elections in the United States

Our group has begun our meetings again after a temporary summer break. But social justice issues are never far from our mind. Not only have we begun thinking about issues to explore and take action on in the remaining months of 2012 but we are also participating in becoming educated voters here in the United States.

Unfortunately we only have two major choices in the upcoming elections, which is usually the case. I say unfortunately because we, the people, should have more than two choices. I hope that one day in the elections we will see a strong third party presence; but till then, we must deal with what we have before us. 

Elections shouldn't be about who is running and who isn't. Elections shouldn't be about Democrats versus Republicans or conservatives versus liberals. Elections shouldn't be about two narrow issues: abortion and gay marriage. Elections should be about ALL the issues that affect our lives, including inequality, taxes, the economy, healthcare, education, employment, and foreign policy. 

So yesterday was the first presidential debate. Next week (October 11th) will be the the vice-presidential debate and a third presidential debate will be on October 16th. There will be another final presidential debate the following week. I hope you're watching. I hope you're also taking a closer look at what these candidates are presenting (the fine print) as part of their platform beyond what they say in the debates. 

We need to educate ourselves and make the best choice we can for our families and our communities as well as for our fellow citizens. It is not just about the must also be about the collective community, with social justice in mind. It is not about how the rich and the corporations will fare after the results of this election but how the poor, the working class, and the average American will fare after the results of this elections. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

So what is "fracking" and why is it important?

In case you were wondering why fracking is so important and why we are suggesting that fracking be banned, I thought we'd go over some issues as well as what exactly fracking is. "Fracking", otherwise known as hydraulic fracturing, is a procedure to extract natural gas from the earth. While the procedure has been around for a while, there have been increasing concerns about fracking. Not only does fracking contaminate the environment around the fracking wells but it also contaminates the neighborhood's water supply. We have seen commercials and banners on buses that talk about clean natural gas, there is very little that is clean about how that gas is extracted. Fracking requires thousands of gallons of water mixed with hundreds of chemicals, many that are carcinogenic. This water mixed with chemicals does not disappear after fracking has occurred. It can evaporate into the atmosphere later falling down as acid rain; it can seep into the ground around it, contaminating the environment; it can spill into any rivers or streams nearby killing all manner of life that utilize it as a source of water and nourishment; and it can also seep into the drinking water system, contaminating tap water in unnatural ways, leading to health hazards for families in a variety of ways - either directly or through any livestock that are sold to the markets for food.

We watched the documentary called "Gasland" and it follows the journey of Josh Fox as he attempts to discover more about fracking and its consequences; his discovery is instigated by an offer from the oil and gas companies to lease his land in Pennsylvania because it is sitting above a large shale formation containing tons of natural gas. In the documentary, he interviews families around the U.S. who have had fracking wells installed on their properties and discovered dangerous consequences. Gas has so contaminated drinking water supplies that you can light your tap-water on fire by holding a match to the stream of water coming from the pipe.

Fracking in the state of New York will not only contaminate the environment but it will affect the New York watershed which supplies drinking water to approximately 9 million people in New York, New Jersey, and Delaware. As such, it is a pressing and urgent issue so I suggest you take a look at the previous blog entry about ways to voice your concern against fracking. I'm sure you would be distressed if you could not use the tap water to shower, wash dishes, and cook let alone drink.

I believe in reducing our dependence on foreign oil but I believe in doing it in a manner that is more sustainable and responsible. Natural gas is not the answer. And for those people who are concerned about "aesthetics", fracking wells certainly do not look attractive. We need to look into more sustainable solutions such as wind and solar energy -- solutions that do not harm the environment or the people who live in it. So if you don't care about what fracking does to your drinking water and the environment, then don't take any action; but if you do, read the other blog entry and take action. Please.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Ways to voice your concerns about fracking

*Tell others about fracking and spread awareness of the issue

In New York:
*Petition: Tell Governor Cuomo to ban fracking

*Call an Assembly Member:

*Call Governor Cuomo's office:

*Post a message on Governor Cuomo's wall:

*Petition Congress:

Additional tools and information:

Here are some extra resources:
*Proposed FRAC act

*Map of gas drilling in PA
*Fracking incidents across the US
*Fracking ban upheld in some NY towns
*Fracking and the Safe Drinking Water Act
*Energy Policy Act of 2005 - includes exemption of fracking from safe drinking water act
*Article: Safety first, fracking second
*NY Times article on fracking
*Various fracking resources
*A million fracking letters
*Article: Cuomo's consideration of fracking
*Gasland movie website: includes various resources
*Article: earthquake in Ohio linked to fracking
*BBC: overview of fracking
*Food and water watch: fracking action center

Also, here is the proposed bill to ban fracking in NY: Bill

Please consider calling and/or writing your assemblyperson! You can find him/her on this website.

And finally, I just came across this sermon by Tim Keller on the topic of "Can Faith be Green?" In it, he gives Biblical support for protecting and caring for the environment. Check it out: Sermon

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Movie: The Corporation

Last Sunday we watched and discussed the movie called The Corporation. It gives you a well-rounded perspective on the formation of the corporation, how it gained the rights and privileges it enjoys in today's economy, and the problems that this particular institution creates in our society. It is very informative and thought-provoking. Here's a synopsis of the movie but you should watch it in its entirety.

Some of the action steps that came up in our discussion after the viewing of this movie included re-assessing what it is we purchase and why we purchase it not to mention where is the item we are purchasing manufactured, as well as sharing with friends and family about the issues surrounding U.S. consumers and the consequences of our increasing consumption. 

Up-coming Film Screenings

Up-coming film screenings in the Long Island area, in case anyone is interested and would like to attend:

Gasland: this Saturday (6/9)  from 7-9:15, in Babylon, free admission. The movie looks at the controversial issue of fracking.

The Harvest: next Wednesday 6/13 at 7:30 pm, in Huntington, $15 including a reception. This movie looks at the plight of migrant child farmworkers in the US. This film is actually from the same director as The Dark Side of Chocolate, and he will be there in person.

Human Rights Watch Film Festival - New York: June 14 - 28 at the Lincoln Center in New York City, sponsored by Human Rights Watch. Films feature a variety of human rights issues; go to the page for more information on the movies. 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Social Justice in Action :)

Our group recently decided that we needed to include some action along with some of our discussions and our studies of various social justice issues. So Derek forwarded us some information about the National Association of Letter Carrier's Food Drive, and we decided to volunteer our time for a few hours. All the food collected by letter carriers (your friendly neighborhood postmen and postwomen) during their annual food drive on May 12th was to be sorted and distributed by Island Harvest (a Long Island food bank). For more information on Island Harvest you can click here. We all had a good time and were very happy to have spent this time serving our community.

Here are some photos of those in our group who were able to make it (oh, and my mom too who is visiting from California, hee hee):

All the food collected on Long Island is distributed via Island Harvest, a Long Island food bank. 

Neatly stacked and sorted boxes; we filled about 4 or 5 of these things (am I correct?). 

Our group taking a dinner break halfway through. 

Now you see them....

Now you don't. 

Our sorting and packing table

Busy checking, sorting, packing, checking, sorting, packing....rinse and repeat. :)