The Ever-Evolving World Through Her Eyes

COP 14 International Youth Delegation

So here it goes, the unveiling of the Global Youth Climate Movement’s work in Poznan, Poland, for COP 14 at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change:

To Download this video click here. It’s the video labeled COP14 (Say What You Want).

And the other video:

To download this video click here. It is labeled COP 14 (teardrop)


In the Name of Love

Today, as I sat next to my parents, on our living room couch, eyes peering up at the television, we listened to Singers, Actors, and prominent American Figures, including the president-elect himself, on the “We Are One, Inauguration Concert.”

To be very honest, I voted for Ralph Nader, mainly because I do not believe in a two party political system, and Ralph’s policies were much more sound to me than Obama’s. But one thing I always knew was that this man inspired hope and change in the people who mattered most- you and I. President-elect Obama is always reminding us, even today, that we must get involved and stay active, keeping him informed of what we, the American people think, what we want to see as ‘the change.’

My eyes filled with tears on many occasions as I saw, these artists come together in a manifestation of what we want to see on a larger level, on a local level, ingrained in our every day selves. It is Love. While it was in the limelight, yes, and the world always shows it’s harsher edges after the glamor has faded, it was still something truly remarkable. And let me say this, it is beauty that never fades, it only changes.

I think the moment that caught me off guard, other than when Stevie Wonder came on stage and I jumped up screaming and dancing, was when Bono from U2 sang to the President. He sang his famous song, written in 1984 for Martin Luther King Jr, Pride. As the song neared it’s close he said these words.

“This is not just an American dream, but also an Irish dream, a European dream, an African dream … an Israeli dream and a Palestinian dream,” Bono said in the middle of U2’s performance of their 1984 hit “Pride (In the Name of Love).”

This was beauty. For so long, the issue of Israel and Palestine has been taboo, especially when any positive light is shown on the Palestinians. And, especially when the issue is in congress. It is time to stand up for justice, of our people at home who live in poverty and in the face of racism, and in the middle-east, where we have financed 1000 times over ongoing massacres in Iraq, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Territories.

Tears streamed down my face as I heard, what Bono had said, and I looked over at my parents, my Lebanese mother and my European father; they too were crying. These two people who created six mixed babies, all of us trying to make this world more just, peaceful, and sustainable. I owe everything to them, and I owe everything to all of you.

What Have You Done for Gaza Today?
Getty Images

Getty Images

As I sit in upstate New York, Palestinians in Gaza are being murdered. What do the world governments do? People from all over the world are calling for a ceasefire in Indonesia, UK, France, Australia, Canada, and the United States just to name a few. But what are our leaders doing

The US is holding Hamas accountable for the continued violence, as current Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice issued a statement about the situation.

“The United States is deeply concerned about the escalating violence in Gaza. We strongly condemn the repeated rocket and mortar attacks against Israel and hold Hamas responsible for breaking the ceasefire and for the renewal of violence there. The ceasefire must be restored immediately and fully respected. The United States calls on all concerned to protect innocent lives and to address the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza.”

For more information on US statements about the crisis click here.

Although governments are calling for a ceasefire, Israel has rejected any pleas. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, representing the European Union said, “We, Europe, want a ceasefire as soon as possible. Time is working against peace. The weapons must be silenced and there must be a temporary humanitarian truce.”

But the response from Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that they are not done, “We have hit Hamas hard, but we have not yet reached all the goals that we have set for ourselves and the operation continues,” he told a parliamentary committee.

Now what are Israel’s goals?
When we campaign on the environment or social justice, we have our internal goals and our external goals. So for example, when planning Power Shift 2007 our external goal for attendance was 2000-4000 but our internal goal was 5000 – 6000. This allows us room, to surpass our external goals and possibly our internal goals. What are Israel’s internal goals, if they have already killed nearly 700 people? When does it end, Israel?

We are all responsible. We all have a part to play in this. If you live in the US contact your congressional office and senatorial office today . Contact Obama’s transitional office as well. He needs to hear from us, we elected him on the platform of change and if he does not show us that he is different from his predecessor, than he is not fulfilling his rhetoric.

We must take lead from Israeli Youth, who are building a movement called Shminitism. They are high school seniors refusing to join the army and are going to prison instead.

There is an Avaaz petition that has over 200,000 signatures calling for a ceasefire, if you have not done this already please do so.

And finally but most importantly, click here to donate to Gaza. They are in need of food and medical supplies. More than 80 percent of Palestinians living in Gaza depend on food aid. Please donate to the United Palestinian Appeal.

Other organizations in the states that are doing good work on the issue in particular are Arab American Institute and American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.

To read more about the issue visit Robert Fisk’s page at

Let Us Build the New Economy Let Us Build Community

The economy slides down one of those yellow slip and slides, those slippery slopes people are always talking about. Usually in reference to the once you start you just can’t stop activities like sex, drugs, and tasty food, rarely to our ‘stable’ economy or our government.

I think back to eight years ago, I was fourteen years old and felt terribly robbed that I couldn’t fully participate in the democratic process. Although, Kids Against Pollution, the organization I was National Spokesperson for at the time, was running their Vote 4 Me campaign, which registered people to vote for my generations future. While we were too young to vote others weren’t and we wanted to make sure they were taking into consideration the things we thought were important like the environmental records of each candidate. I remember the night of the election, I passed out around two in the morning not knowing what my future held, and woke to the grim news that the entire country still didn’t. There was a recount and more speculation. I felt sick as I walked the halls of my school, while other middle-schoolers postulated over whom was making out with whom, or what was for lunch; I couldn’t get the election off my mind. The process continued to be hijacked, as our democracy eroded way like a pressure hose to scraps on the ground, the last remnants washed away. As shocked as I was, as scared as I was, I still had no idea what was to come.

Endless cuts in taxes that benefit the already wealthy and privileged, two wars that target minorities on both sides of the fighting, the reversal of twenty years of forward steps on environmental and medical care policies, not to mention the complete overhaul and the re-funelling of money for our national public education system to those oppressive wars. What a record, and that’s the the least of it.

Surprisingly, through it all, I’ve lived comfortably. I guess that’s the key, the gradual decline in the quality of life and civil liberties. Don’t just yank things out of reach, distract them so they just forget until it’s too late.

But it’s not too late. Our economy, yes, is in shambles, global warming is less than stable, and the patriot act looms in the background like George Orwell’s 1984, but we are the one’s we are waiting for.

So let’s stop waiting and start shaping and creating our future. Let us take back the streets that used to be the centers of our communities.

For example, City Repair, the Portland, Oregon’s community based organization, started out by creating a central sustainable community gathering place. Then one evening in their celebration, literally the neighborhood took to the streets and converted their intersection into a public square. Technically this was done illegally, but they soon had the city of Portland on their side, as this was what the community wanted and needed. Now, after twelve years of work, City Repair is a central neighborhood organization that has transformed the way Portland inter-acts with it’s community,

By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, we plant the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empower our communities and nurture our local culture.

Or the Power Vote Pledge which seeks to mobilize one million young “climate voters” to elevate the issue of climate change in the 2008 election. This pledge commits young voters to holding our candidates accountable to our vision of a sustainable future, which includes creating millions of green jobs for middle to low income folks, investing in this clean energy economy, cutting global warming pollution, and so much more.

Check out what 350 has been up to, launching a new campaign to invite the new President, whoever that may be, to rejoin the world’s fight against the climate crisis at the UN Climate Negotiations in Poland.

Get involved, find a local community organization that you can give back to and in turn will serve you and your family. Re-claim your civil power and create the future you want to see. Maybe time is scarce, maybe money too but we need you more than ever for when we remain separate, time is scarce and so is money.

When we come together regularly in collective support, we can change this idea of scarcity to a reality of abundance. By realizing our own power to take our future into our hands, we become apart of the decision making process.

We are taught that these activities are too grand for ordinary people, which is why we elect someone else to make those decisions and changes for us, or we wait for someone else another Ghandi, another Alice Paul, another Martin. But those people were ordinary people with a vision and through some catalytic steps started working for the betterment of our community, our world.

We are all connected. We need everyone. Start today.

Sign the Power Vote Pledge and the Invitation to our Presidential Candidates, for starters, and then take this moment to find another way to become locally involved with creating change.