If the world were a global village

If the world were a global village of 100 people, over 70 of them would be unable to read, and only one would have a college education. Over 50 would be suffering from malnutrition, and over 30 would live in what we call substandard housing. If the world were a global village of 100 residents, six of them would be from the United States. Those six would have half of the village’s entire income; the other 94 would exist on the other half. How would the wealthy live “in peace” with their neighbors? Surely they would be driven to arm themselves against the other 94…perhaps even to spend, as we do, more per person on military “defense” than the tIMG_20141112_184624416_HDRotal personal income of the others. – The People of the World


Racism is an Illness not a Sickness

We must view racism as an illness rather than a sickness.  There is a significant difference between having an illness and being labeled sick. It is bad enough to become ill, but it is much worse to become labeled as sick. The former is debilitating but the latter is demoralizing.

A good doctor does not dwell on whether the patient should or should not be suffering. All that matters is solving the problem.





A First-Person Account of Surviving the Earthquake in Nepal


Because the area is full of Buddhists, most people stayed positive and were not shocked by the realization that death is inevitable. The earthquake was actually a great Buddhist teaching that everything is an illusion and things are never as they seem to be. Like a rope on the ground can be mistaken for a snake, as a reflection of the moon in a mud puddle is not the actual moon, the ground and the buildings that we live in are not as safe and immoveable as we may think. This is a disturbing revelation that can be very unsettling especially while the earth kept moving for days. The Buddha also said “all component things are destined to fall apart.” Of course, we can all die at any moment, but I think we are all afraid to suffer a painful death crushed by fallen buildings or to be trapped for…

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When Conservation Threatens Indigenous Peoples


But the Maasai of Loliondo are not alone in disputing these supposed benefits. Worldwide, 8 million square miles—a landmass almost as large as the entire African continent—have been classified as protected areas by governments and conservation groups. In turn, the locals have mostly been pushed off their lands. Though no one formally counts people displaced for the sake of environmental preservation, data from the UN and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature on park footprints and population density estimate that the total number of removed people could be near 20 million.

These are our world’s conservation refugees—from the Dominican Republic to Kenya, Bolivia to Brazil. They are the Batwa of Uganda, who were forced out of their native forests when they were falsely accused of killing silverback gorillas. Many are now squatters without access to water or sanitation, living on the edge of parks that protect the…

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Abandon the nuclear option

Abandon the nuclear optionIMG_20150212_202915

Now that Burlington, Vermont, has proved that an American city can generate 100 percent of its energy from renewables, the time to close the Ginna nuclear power plant has arrived. Electricity fees are plummeting, and the costs associated with running a nuclear power plant are skyrocketing. Despite initial hardships, the economic and environmental advantages of transitioning to a renewable power grid are undeniable.

Let’s begin with the facts. Ginna is the nation’s second-smallest reactor and the seventh oldest in the world. In 2012, the plant was scheduled to lose $43 million before it was rescued by the corporate behemoth Exelon. If not for “must-run” contracts and other subsidies such as the one currently planned, 300,000 utility users could avoid dumping $132 million annually into an energy pitfall, and instead capitalize on alternatives.

The Alliance for a Green Economy has shown that for every 1.7 jobs created by Ginna, there are 5.4 jobs that could be created by solar and nearly 7.2 jobs that could be created in the energy efficiency sector.

Furthermore, the decommissioning of nuclear reactors requires hundreds of skilled labor jobs. Many Ginna workers could find new employment while fostering an occupational field that will provide for their children and grandchildren.

So rather than think about losing jobs in Wayne County, we should think about creating new jobs that will last longer, pay better, and be far safer for the environment.

Studies by MIT, the Commission on Energy Policy, and the International Atomic Energy Agency have demonstrated that at least 2,000 large new atomic reactors would have to be built worldwide for nuclear power to make any meaningful dent in carbon emissions. (Fewer than 400 reactors now operate globally.)

What is more, construction of 2,000 new reactors would cost trillions of dollars, take decades, and produce extremely dangerous levels of radioactive waste. If we are serious about climate change, we must move away from the nuclear option.

Wayne County can lay the foundation for a vibrant and robust green economy that will propel their community into the future. The time to transition is now. Like the entire nation, Wayne County is ready for the change.


Payne is founder-director of Gandhi Earth Keepers International.

Support Single Payer Health Care

Does our current health care system work as well as the systems of other industrialized nations? IMG_20150112_132029

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) the United States has the most expensive health care system in the world yet consistently underperforms when compared to nations such as the UK, Canada, Germany, Sweden, France and Japan. For example, the life expectancy rate in the United States is 78 years old, which is nearly four years lower than the average life span of an Italian.

Is an American life less valuable that the life of an Italian? Americans actually live shorter life spans than people in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Norway, Sweden, and the UK.

The statistics are telling in other important categories. The American infant mortality rate doubles that of Japan. In fact, Slovenia and Cypress have lower rates than the United States. When looking at preventative deaths per 100,000 residents we find that the US rate of 96 nearly doubles France’s 55. All the while, the American government spends $7,337 per citizen, which is more than double the amount Germany and the UK spend combined.

Mohandas Gandhi once said: “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.”

Our political leaders believe that Americans deserve a health care system that is effective, cost-affordable, and progressive. These same leaders also purport to believe that our nation can meet the challenges of the 21st Century. Why then are they unable to deliver a health care system that ranks higher than 37th in the world? It can’t be because single payer health coverage is economically unviable.

The Physicians for a National Health Program have demonstrated that our country will save 350 billion dollars annually in preventive savings alone. (Never mind the tremendous savings in administrative overhead associated with the private insurance companies.)


As stewards of the future we have a moral obligation to create a system that will leave our grandchildren’s grandchildren not only a biosphere but also a biology that allows them to thrive. We have a social contract not only with our government and fellow citizens living today but also a social contract with the inhabitants living on our planet many years from now.

Payne is founder of the Rochester based Gandhi Earth Keepers International.

Interested in the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition?

With the support of 38 groups, the RPCC is building from the success of September’s People Climate March, “The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition addresses the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of global warming. Together we will create a more environmentally just and sustainable society for all.”

To get in touch with us, email: rocpcc@gmail.com.

*This is for all local groups—businesses, political parties, faith, activist, neighborhoods, and more—to join up with the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition. Please take the survey so we can add you to our list: http://tinyurl.com/RPCCsurvey.

Four Levels of Participation: Leadership Team, Partner Organization, Supporting Organization, and Affiliated Organization

This is an unprecedented alliance for the Rochester region. Don’t be left out in the heat.  If you have any questions, please let us know.

RPCC Leadership Team:Sue Hughes-Smith, Mothers Out Front

Linda Isaacson Fedele, Sierra Club

Abigail McHugh-Grifa, Rochester Climate Action

Sarah Mittiga, Citizens’ Climate Lobby

George Payne, Gandhi Earth Keepers

Susan Spencer, Working Families Party

Bill LaBine, Airtight Services, Inc.

Goals of the RPCC:1. Build a major force for change that will influence legislators to pass meaningful climate action laws.

2. Educate the general public about man-made global warming and mobilize them for direct action.

3. Encourage local leaders to take steps to prepare our region for the future effects of Climate Change (e.g. update transportation and utilities infrastructure)

4. Leverage our collective power to encourage local media to improve their coverage of climate-related issues.

The first big endeavor of the RPCC will be make Earth Week in Rochester in April (18th – 23rd) with events built around Dr. Hansen’s two-day visit.World renowned climate scientist and activist and author, Dr. Hansen has agreed to speak the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s Earth Day forum. If you are anywhere near Rochester, NY, you could have the privilege of hearing former NASA scientist and Climate Change expert Dr. James Hansen speak at our local Sierra Club’s annual environmental forum, to be held at Monroe Community College. Various other events at other local venues will be included that day, and also Monday April 20th. See his TED talk here: https://lnkd.in/dgSc2Uq . More details to come.

RSVP please to: rocpcc@gmail.com.RPCC-300x117