Nearly half the people on our planet do not have safe water to drink. Friendly Water for the World is a nonprofit organization, founded by Quakers, whose mission is to help expand access to low-cost clean water technologies, as well as information about health and sanitation, to people in need. They teach communities how to construct simple biosand water filters, which remove nearly 99% of all parasites, disease and water-borne pathogens.
It’s 5 o’clock, and Yasmina is running late for her drawing and painting class; she quickly grabs her watercolors, kisses her mother, and runs out the door to school. But what you might not realize, is that Yasmina and her fellow Roma students are all defying their culture’s norms just by showing up to their art class today.
This week, during a recent session debating the state of voting rights in our nation, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments, as well as some rather Jim Crow-esque comments from Justice Scalia, .
North Carolina’s city of Asheville is the most recent town in our nation to create a Food Action Plan. These sensible strategies address difficult issues, such as food deserts, community health, food insecurity, nutrition knowledge deficits, barriers to local food production and distribution, as well as food sovereignty. The plan was approved 6-0 on January 21, 2013 by the city council; this legislation will play an active role in improving healthy food access, and will also help to build a more sustainable local food infrastructure.
Ron Paul is one of the rare elected officials who has the integrity to highlight the crippling economic costs of our massive military industrial complex, as well as the need to decriminalize drugs and audit both the Pentagon and the Federal Reserve. His adamant support for personal privacy, Bradley Manning and civil liberties also shows leadership, but unfortunately like most men in his party, Paul still rabidly opposes a woman’s ability to safely terminate a pregnancy. He wants small unobtrusive government, except when it applies to all female bodies?
As voting suppression and mandatory voter id efforts have spread across our nation, diligent legislators in California are now working to make it easier to vote. The California State Senate has just passed AB 1436, which legalizes Election Day Registration (EDR), enabling citizens to register and vote on the same day. Currently the state law prohibits Californians from registering to vote in the final two weeks before an election; the new bill will eliminate that deadline, making voting more accessible for all of the state’s citizens.
A humorous online campaign designed to expose vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan’s abysmal record on women’s health issues is flooding the internet. The meme is based on a fan site for Ryan Gosling, where an image of the celebrity is paired with an ironic or suggestive quote. In the case of Paul Ryan however, the words highlight the politician’s fondness for forced mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds, as well as his vehement opposition to birth control, pregnancy termination and contraception access.
Last year at the Slow Money Gathering in San Francisco, I was really impressed with a presentation that I heard from one of the founders of Stockbox Neighborhood Grocery in Washington. Her idea was simple and innovative — retrofit shipping containers to sell healthy food and produce in underserved neighborhoods. The easily portable container could be placed in industrial areas and regions where food deserts now prevail, instantly providing better access to fresh groceries.
In the United States we have more guns per capita than any other country on the planet — there are roughly ninety guns for every 100 people (Yemen is a distant second at fifty-five). On average, each day eighty-five people are killed by gun violence, even on a “normal” day when there are no mass killings. The high concentration of weapons that we have access to alone can not be what causes these many tragic murders — but what are the reasons for so much senseless death?
Extremist Republican politicians in Mississippi are openly admitting that the new restrictions being forced upon the only remaining health clinic that provides abortion services in the entire state are intended to deny citizens legal access to terminating their pregnancies. If the new regulations go forward tomorrow, all women in one of our nation’s most impoverished states will be forced to drive for hours to obtain a constitutionally protected medical procedure.
Having ready access to clean water is something that many of us take for granted. However everyone would treat water much differently if we were forced to walk for miles every day just to transport a few gallons of this precious resource. The Women’s UN Report Program & Network (WUNRN) is helping to get the word out about how the lack of access to potable water disproportionately impacts women and girls with a new cartoon calendar designed to help raise awareness about this vital issue.
Food insecurity is huge problem in our nation. More families are now in need of food stamps than ever before in the history of our country, and in many neighborhoods liquor stores far outnumber produce markets. However, in the barren food deserts of East Los Angeles, a few small oases of healthy food options are beginning to sprout.
Recent insidious right wing assaults upon women have been relentless, but many communities are fighting back against these misguided attacks by extremists. In western Washington local citizens joined together to help protect women’s access to health care, and organized weekly demonstrations in front of the local Planned Parenthood clinic. Scores of dedicated residents stood in front of the Olympia medical center, throughout all kinds of weather, to show how much they love and appreciate access to health care.
This week a measure was introduced into the Georgia legislature that would ban all abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The proposed bill, HB 954, is sponsored by Doug McKillip, R-Athens, and also attempts to further restrict “life of the mother” exceptions for medically necessary pregnancy terminations. In response, State Rep. Yasmin Neal is now attempting to create some gender parity with the introduction of the Anti-Vasectomy Act.