Tag Archives: peace

Breaking: Across the globe, students go on strike to demand climate action

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It’s Friday, March 15, and hundreds of thousands of students are expected to walk out of school to protest global leaders’ inaction on climate change. Young climate activists across the globe have been anticipating this day like Christmas without the consumerism. Inspired by newly minted teenage Nobel Peace Prize nominee Greta Thunberg, Gen-Zers are rallying to send adults a clear message — you need to take our future seriously.

Several Grist reporters are in the field today covering the U.S. Youth Climate Strike. We will update this post throughout the day as the strikes unfold worldwide. For more news on the student walkouts, follow @grist on Twitter.

Here’s the latest on the Youth Climate Strikes:

Some of our favorite signs yet

As Seattle strikes wrap up, kids are laser-focusing their message at politicians

“To all those politicians who can’t imagine my and many other futures in a ruined climate, imagine being out of a job in 2020, 2022, 2024, or 2026 when I personally get to vote.” — Taro Moore, 12-year-old climate striker from Kenmore Middle School

“I really can’t conceptualize an idea where people wouldn’t believe this is a real issue. The way the environment has changed over past decade, droughts from America to Africa to Australia, it’s just preposterous that some people in the Republican party are opposed to this.” — Kevin, 17-year-old climate striker from Bellevue High School

“Anybody who wants to run for president, who wants to run this country, they’ve got to pay attention.” — Athena Fain, 15-year-old organizer from Ingraham High School

Police respond in New York as protestors block roads

Per 350.org, the protests surpassed 1 million participants worldwide

Strikes get going in the Pacific North West (Grist’s backyard)

California groups join in the fray

Spotted in San Francisco!

The pace picks up across the country

Strikes get underway in other East Coast cities

New York City is up and at ’em

International Youth Climate Strikes kick off

The night before the strike, youth across the country prepare for protest

At Columbia University in New York, students worked late into the night to make signs for the protest.

Grist / Rachel Ramirez

Ahead of the strike, student leaders across the country share their motivations for participating.

Image courtesy of Shania Hurtado

As united as Friday’s protests will be in their call for meaningful climate action, the reasons young people have for participating are also grounded in their regions’ unique climate concerns.

“Hurricane Harvey devastated our city,” said Shania Hurtado, 16, who lives in Houston, Texas. “It was a time when my family and my friends were in a state of fear. It was terrible. This is truly why I’m striking. It’s why I’m organizing the strike. It’s something that affects me personally and we have the power to prevent and we should do something about it.”

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Breaking: Across the globe, students go on strike to demand climate action

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With the world on the line, scientists outline the paths to survival

This week, scientists and representatives from every country on Earth are gathering in South Korea to put the finishing touches on a report that, if followed, would change the course of history.

The report is a roadmap for possible ways to keep climate change to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Anything beyond that amount of warming, and the planet starts to really go haywire. So the International Panel on Climate Change — a U.N.-sponsored, Nobel Peace Prize-winning assemblage of scientists — wants to show how we can avoid that. To be clear, hitting that goal would require a radical rethink in almost every aspect of society. But the report finds that not meeting the goal would upend life as we know it, too.

“This will be one of the most important meetings in the IPCC’s history,” said Hoesung Lee, the group’s chair, in his opening address on Monday.

The report will be released on October 8. From leaked drafts, we know the basics of scientists’ findings: World greenhouse gas emissions must peak by 2020 — just 15 months from now. The scientists also show the difference in impacts between 1.5 and 2 degrees would not be minor — it could be make-or-break for the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, for example, which would flood every coastal city on Earth should it collapse.

“The decisions we make now about whether we let 1.5 or 2 degrees or more happen will change the world enormously,” said Heleen de Coninck, a Dutch climate scientist and one of the report’s lead authors, in an interview with the BBC. “The lives of people will never be the same again either way, but we can influence which future we end up with.”

The report has been in the works since the 2015 Paris climate agreement. Three years ago, during the climate talks, leaders of a few dozen small island nations and other highly vulnerable nations, like Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, demanded the bolder 1.5 degrees C temperature target be included in the first-ever global climate pact. The group represents 1 billion people, and for some of the involved countries, like the Marshall Islands, their entire existence is at stake.

At the time, the lead negotiator from that tiny Pacific island nation used the word “genocide” to describe the inevitable process of forced abandonment of his country due to sea-level rise, should global temperature breach the 1.5 degree target.

Even taking into account the policies and pledges enacted globally since the Paris Agreement, the world is on course to warm between 2.6 to 3.2 degrees C by the end of the century, according to independent analysis by Climate Action Tracker.

According to a U.N. preview of the report, meeting the 1.5 goal would “require very fast changes in electricity production, transport, construction, agriculture and industry” worldwide, in a globally coordinated effort to bring about a zero-carbon economy as quickly as possible. It would also very likely require eventually removing huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere using technology that is not currently available at the scale that would be necessary. And there’s no time to waste: “The longer CO2 is emitted at today’s rate, the faster this decarbonization will need to be.”

The world has already warmed by about 1.1 degrees C, and the implications of that are increasingly obvious. In just the three years since the Paris Agreement was signed, we’ve seen thousand-year rainstorms by the dozens, the most destructive hurricane season in U.S. history, disastrous fires on almost every continent, and an unprecedented coral bleaching episode that affected 70 percent of the world’s reefs.

In this age of rapid warming, the IPCC report is inherently political — there are obvious winners and losers if the world fails to meet the 1.5-degree goal. If the world’s governments are to take the implications of IPCC’s findings seriously, it would be nothing less than revolutionary — a radical restructuring of human society on our planet.

Right now, scientists are trying to find the precise words to describe an impending catastrophe and the utterly heroic efforts it would take to avert it.

“We’re talking about the kind of crisis that forces us to rethink everything we’ve known so far on how to build a secure future,” Greenpeace’s Kaisa Kosonen told AFP in response to a draft of the report. “We have to try to make the impossible possible.”

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With the world on the line, scientists outline the paths to survival

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4 Ways Smart Home Tech Can Maximize Your Energy Use

In today?s technology-centric environment, many energy-conscious types are looking for new ways to become more responsible power consumers. In fact, a whopping 70 percent of people say energy conservation is an important factor in their daily lives and purchases.

But even if you remember to unplug your phone charger, turn your heat down, close the blinds and turn off the lights before you leave the house in the morning, there?s still a chance you could forget something.

That?s where recent innovations in connected home technology come in. Thanks to groundbreaking smart home devices, we can now use the same connected technology that powers our daily lives to reduce our carbon footprints. Here are four smart home innovations that can help you maximize your energy efficiency. (As a bonus, they could also lower your energy bills.)

Smart Thermostat

Wi-Fi-connected thermostats are becoming more common ? and for good reason. Many run-of-the-mill thermostats offer the ability to program your heat or air conditioning schedule, but high-tech smart thermostats allow you to control your home temps via your smartphone or tablet ? from anywhere in the world. So if that mid-day blizzard doesn?t come through as expected, you can turn your heat down from the office (or hopefully the beach).

In fact, if everyone in the U.S. switched to an Energy Star-certified smart thermostat, we could save an average of $740 million per year and curb greenhouse gas emissions by a staggering 13 billion pounds annually.

Smart Lighting

Connected light bulbs can change color on demand and can even pulse to the beat of your favorite playlist. But parties and mood lighting aside, they?re typically LED bulbs, which means they only use 20 to25 percent of the energy that incandescent bulbs consume. Plus, they last between eight and 25 times longer than halogen incandescent bulbs.

You can also operate these smart bulbs from any connected device. Even if you have light fixtures that don?t take standard A-shaped bulbs, you can replace your dimmer switch with a connected one to gain the same energy and cost savings from every light in your home.

Smart Outlets

One of the best ways to rein in your electricity usage is to cut off power-hogs right at the source: the outlet. Similar to the devices above, smart outlets are Wi-Fi-enabled, allowing you to control them from your mobile devices.

These handy outlets come in many forms. While some require installation in the wall, others simply plug into your existing outlets. The purpose, however, is the same. Plug in your TV, desk lamp, vintage pinball machine ? anything really ? and control it from anywhere you may be.

This gives you the ability to switch off your coffee pot from your train to work or turn the slow cooker on at noon from your desk. Most importantly, it provides the peace of mind that comes with knowing none of your appliances are consuming power unbeknownst to you.

Smart Energy Monitors

If you?re really serious about improving your energy consumption, a smart energy monitor can help you take your home?s energy efficiency to the next level. These devices attach directly to your circuit breaker and allow you to view the energy output of every appliance in your home. If you spot an energy hoarder, you can adjust your usage accordingly and even get a prediction of how much that appliance will affect your next energy bill.

This puts the power in your hands, so to speak, by giving you total control of your household energy usage and spending. As with anything that requires electrical work, you should have a professional install your device. But given how much money you could save on your power bill, the installation cost is likely just a drop in the bucket.

Of course, if you want to go all-in on a connected home, there are many more options on the market to choose from. But these four devices are some of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to reduce your energy consumption and get a quick bang for your buck.
Jon Snyder is a Product Manager at Esurance overseeing countrywide design of property insurance products. Jon has over 25 years of industry experience in product management, design and management roles as well as claims roles at Esurance and other major industry carriers.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.


4 Ways Smart Home Tech Can Maximize Your Energy Use

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7 Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats That Won’t Go to Landfill

So many of the productsthat we buy and use daily will end up in a landfill at the end of their lives especially those made fromplastics or other unrecyclable (or uncompostable) materials.

Yoga mats usually fall into this category.

Fortunately, more and more incredible companies are producing sustainable, chemical-free yoga mats. Most are made fromjute or all-natural rubber materials that are gentle on the earth, without sacrificing grip quality.

Sound like something you’d be into? Read on!

7 Eco-FriendlyYoga Mats That Won’t Go to Landfill

Manduka eKO Lite Mat

Thick and extra-cushioned for joint support (but weighing less than five pounds) this high-quality mat may very well change your life. It’s made from biodegradable, non-Amazon-harvested, natural tree rubber which means no toxic PVC, no plasticizers, and no foaming agents! Trust me,it’s worth the investment.

Yoloha Nomad Cork Yoga Mat

Ifyou’re tired of your yoga mat getting slippery when wet, you’ve just found your holy grail. This 4 millimeter yoga mat is constructed from anti-microbial, premium-grade cork that is both self-cleaning and biodegradable! Bonus: Any cork material leftover during the mat’s no-waste manufacturing process is reused to make new products. Pretty cool, huh?

Affirmats Yoga Mat

This eco-friendly, non-toxic yoga mat is a real treat! Each mat is decorated with a positive affirmation like “I am enough” or “I am free”to inspire you during your practice. Made from slip-resistent jute and eco-PVC, this 5 millimeter mat is completely free of nasty phthalates, latex and heavy metals. It even gets more slip-resistant with use!

Barefoot Yoga Original Eco Yoga Mat

The Original Eco Yoga Mat is eco-conscious and non-toxic. Composed exclusively from all-natural rubber and jute fiber, you can rest assured that it is free ofchemical additives. Highly durable, flexible and natural-feeling, you’ll never go back to your old mat.

Jade Harmony YogaMat

This Jade Yoga mat is a favorite among yogis. It contains zero PVC, EVA or other synthetic rubber, and is made instead from sustainable, renewable rubber. Designed in a number of sizes and widths, odds are you’ve just found the perfect tailormade option. Bonus: For every mat sold, Jade plants a tree!

Dragonfly TPE Lite Mat

The TPE Lite Mat is a beautiful take on minimalism in yoga gear. Look closely and you’ll discover that the entire surface is imprinted with tiny dragonflies! This mat is made using closed-cell technology to prevent any sweat and other nasties from penetrating its surface. So, rest assured: your mat will stay germ-free.

PrAna Henna ECOYoga Mat

This top selling yoga mat is made from non-toxic TPE that is both chemical-free and UV-resistant. Plus, it has a gorgeous henna print on the top side. This productalso has a closed-cell construction so you don’t need to worry about anything nasty absorbing into the mat.

You spend a lot of time on your yoga mat! So invest in one that has a long lifespan and won’t expose you to nasty chemicals. Which mat is your favorite?

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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7 Eco-Friendly Yoga Mats That Won’t Go to Landfill

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Riveting Moments From Donald Trump Inauguration Protests—Updated

Mother Jones

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In the coming days, crowds of Donald Trump supporters will take to the streets to welcome the new president, including at Thursday’s Make America Great Again rally at the Lincoln Memorial and Friday’s inaugural parade outside the White House.

But a whole lot of people are organizing to protest Trump, including more than 1 million people who are expected to participate in women’s marches around the world.

Here are highlights from some of the protests. Come back here for more news as we update this story.

January 20

Mother Jones reporters are on the scene covering the protests ahead of today’s swearing-in ceremony:

January 19

Tensions are high as protesters confront Trump supporters attending the “Deploraball,” an inauguration celebration at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Protesters rally outside the Trump International Hotel in New York, joined by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, filmmaker Michael Moore, actor Alec Baldwin, and other high-profile speakers.

January 18

Hundreds gather for a “Queer Dance Party” outside of Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s Chevy Chase house. Firas Nasr, founder of WERK for Peace, tells DCist that the event is meant to show that “homophobia and transphobia is wrong and should be resisted.” As Indiana’s governor, Pence had a poor record on LGBT rights, signing a bill to protect businesses that discriminated against gay people.

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Riveting Moments From Donald Trump Inauguration Protests—Updated

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Top U.S. climate negotiator warns the world is watching our deplorable election

There’s a term that’s getting thrown around a lot in regards to the international climate deal reached in Paris late last year: “Trump-proof.”

As in, is it possible to ensure that a President Donald Trump couldn’t “cancel” the breakthrough agreement and derail global action, as he’s pledged to on the campaign trail?

One of the key players in that effort said this week that a commander-in-chief determined to scrap the deal would mean trouble — no matter how much effort he and his colleagues put into protecting it.

“A president opposed to global action would make enormous difference,” says Jonathan Pershing, a scientist-turned-diplomat who took over as the top U.S. climate envoy this spring. It’s hard to overstate the concern of his international counterparts about the outcome of the election, he says.

“What the U.S. does matters to them,” Pershing told Grist in an exclusive interview this week at the SXSW Eco festival in Austin. And it’s not just his fellow diplomats who care. Pershing’s daughter is currently serving with the Peace Corps in a remote region of Senegal. “Her entire village is aware of who our candidates are.”

Some good came from that anxiety, though: It helped drive ratification of the Paris deal in record time, so that it now goes into effect just before Election Day.

Pershing is confident that reversing all of the Obama administration’s progress on climate wouldn’t be easy for a Republican president. Obama has put in place a host of climate-related rules, from auto fuel-efficiency standards to reducing power plant emissions, that would take time to undo. Says Pershing: “Turning away from those regulations is going to be a pretty tall order.”

And a president opposed to Paris might face pushback from a powerful player: Wall Street. Industry and investors have already begun to adapt to, and in some cases embrace, global efforts to decarbonize the economy.

“The market wants policy consistency so investors can have confidence,” Pershing says — and worldwide, from China to India to the European Union, policymakers are focused on actions to reduce carbon emissions. A United States determined to move in the opposite direction would disrupt that consistency. (If elected, Trump would be the only head of state in the entire world to reject climate science.)

Pershing attended SXSW Eco this week to tout a program created by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the State Department to help leading cities around the world exchange information about their climate efforts. It’s yet another sign, he says, of how efforts will continue to move forward on climate despite U.S. presidential politics or Congressional inaction — because city leaders worldwide recognize the risks and the need to respond immediately.

Grist spoke to Pershing shortly after Hillary Clinton campaigned with former Vice President Al Gore in Florida this week, linking the increased damage from disasters like Hurricane Matthew to climate change. Pershing worked for Clinton during her time as Secretary of State, when he was the No. 2 climate envoy under Todd Stern, and said he saw up close that she has a strong and genuine commitment to fighting climate change — contrary to the perceptions of some climate hawks, who preferred her primary opponent, Bernie Sanders.

“She’s wanted to deal with it for a long time,” Pershing says — and in fact, Clinton created the position that he now holds, taking over from Stern in April, because she wanted someone at the State Department entirely focused on international climate action. “Her drive pushed a lot of it forward.”

Representatives of nearly 200 countries are preparing to convene again next month in Morocco — starting the week of the U.S. election — to take the next steps in implementing the details of the Paris agreement, including rules to ensure global compliance with the commitments made last year. Those talks could take on a very different tenor depending on the Election Day results.

Regardless of the outcome, Pershing says, no U.S. president — denier or not — is going to be able to ignore the growing impacts of climate change or the demand for action from the global community. “We’re all in this together, truthfully.”

Election Guide ★ 2016Making America Green AgainOur experts weigh in on the real issues at stake in this election

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Top U.S. climate negotiator warns the world is watching our deplorable election

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Donald Trump Is Recycling LBJ’s "Pig Fucker" Strategy

Mother Jones

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Donald Trump says Barack Obama is the “founder” of ISIS. Let’s hear his explanations for this. First, there’s this, on the Hugh Hewitt show yesterday:

HH: I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.
DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do…. It’s no mistake.

So he meant it literally. Then there’s this, about 20 seconds later:

HH: I’d just use different language to communicate it….
DT: But they wouldn’t talk about your language, and they do talk about my language, right?

So he didn’t mean it literally. It was deliberate hyperbole in order to get people talking. Then there’s this, from the wee hours of this morning:

It was just sarcasm! Why don’t you people get this?

So why does Trump do this stuff? The most likely explanation, of course, is that he’s a child who can’t control his mouth, and then invents transparently dumb excuses when he’s caught with his hand in the cookie jar. But there’s another possibility.

Everyone remembers the famous LBJ quip about why he called his opponent a pig fucker, right? Johnson admitted it wasn’t true, but “I want him to have to deny it,” he explained.

Well, what have we been talking about for the past few days? First, that Hillary Clinton doesn’t really want to eliminate the Second Amendment. She just wants background checks and so forth. Then, that Obama and Clinton aren’t really the founders of ISIS. They just created the vacuum that helped ISIS thrive.

This probably won’t help Trump. But it might. Getting the media to obsess for days about Hillary Clinton’s position on gun control and her part in the rise of ISIS doesn’t really do her any good. When you’re explaining, you’re losing.

In fact, done more adroitly, this might be a pretty diabolical strategy. Unfortunately for Trump, he’s so ham-handed about it that it hurts him more than it does Hillary. So far, anyway. But if he gets better at it, you never know.

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Donald Trump Is Recycling LBJ’s "Pig Fucker" Strategy

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5 Ways to Honor National Love a Tree Day

Trees of all kinds are vital to sustaining wildlife. They provide shelter, shade and they prevent soil erosion, among many other benefits. In honor of Love A Tree Day on May 16th, here are several ways toshow love for one of natures more majestic creations.

1. Learn the Name of Trees That Live Around You

Take a hike and bring a tree identification book with you to learn the various species along your walk. Or try using the app Leafsnap, which can help identify tree species from their leaves.

2. Water a Thirsty Tree

Trees are tough but they still need a drink now and then. They dont immediately cry out for water like flowers or other plants. CSU/Denver CountyExtension Master Gardenernotes that trees in drier climates should be deep watered to a depth of 12 inches below the soil surface. The soil should be saturated around the tree within the outer edges of its branches. Watering should be done slowly to make sure the water reaches deep down into the roots. Finally, dont dig holes around the tree to water it, since this can dry out roots even more.

3. Give Your Tree Some Healthy Company

Add a bird feeder to your tree. Birds eat the insects that threaten the health of trees. As noted in an article in the Ecological Society of America, birds can contribute to whole tree growth by preying on herbaceous arthropods, such as leafhoppers, caterpillars and grasshoppers. In their role as insect predators, birds may benefit trees by helping to reduce the potentially devastating impacts of defoliating insects. According toBirds Etcetera, the potential economic benefits of insectivorous birds was one of the original arguments for the passage of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in 1918.

4. Plant a Tree

As noted by North Carolina State University, trees offer many benefits. They reduce air temperature by blocking sunlight. As natures air conditioner, the evaporation from a single tree can produce the cooling effect of 10 room-size air conditioners running 20 hours a day. Whats more, a healthy tree can store 13 pounds of carbon annually. Trees can help offset the buildup of carbon dioxide in the air and reduce the “greenhouse effect.” On a grander scale, an acre of trees can absorb up to 2.6 tons of carbon dioxide. The American Forestry Association estimates that 100 million new trees would absorb 18 million tons of carbon dioxide.

5. Give a Tree in Celebration

Plant a tree in celebration of birthdays, anniversaries, new births, or any special occasion. The perfect last-minute gift for any occasion, donating a tree in one of America’s national forests makes an excellent, thoughtful gift that shows your concern for the environment. Learn more about our reforestation efforts.

If youre fortunate enough to have a tree or two in your backyard, sit under the tree and meditate.Close your eyes and think about how your tree provides shade in the summer. Listen as the wind rustles its leaves to create that restful sound that can relax and invigorate you.Think about the many songbirds that your tree attracts to its lofty branches.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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5 Ways to Honor National Love a Tree Day

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The Feds Are Finally Investigating the San Francisco Police, But Here’s the Catch

Mother Jones

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Nearly two months after San Francisco police officers shot and killed a 26-year-old black man named Mario Woods, officials at the US Department of Justice have announced that they will launch a comprehensive review of the department’s policies and practices.

The federal review will “help identify key areas for improvement” in the department’s operational policies, training practices, and accountability procedures, Attorney General Loretta Lynch said in a statement released Monday.

The announcement comes amid a public outcry over Woods’s death last month, which sparked protests and prompted city officials to call for an independent investigation into the incident. On December 2, officers surrounded Woods on a sidewalk in the Bayview district neighborhood after identifying him as a possible suspect in a stabbing that took place earlier that day. The incident was recorded by several onlookers who uploaded cell phone footage to social media, attracting widespread attention.

Push for review

One video showed Woods standing with his back against a wall, facing at least six officers pointing their guns at him. They ordered him to drop the knife. When Woods did not comply, officers fired bean bag pellets and pepper-sprayed him. At one point, Woods appeared to walk away from the officers, and seconds later multiple shots rang out. A total of five officers opened fire, San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr later told reporters. Woods was pronounced dead at the scene. The officers who fired their guns were placed on leave after the shooting, but have since returned to desk duty. Woods’ family and supporters have demanded the firing of Suhr, who formerly headed the Bayview police station. Family members, who say Woods had struggled with mental health issues, have also filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the city.

Several members of San Francisco’s board of supervisors, community leaders, and civil rights advocates have called for an independent investigation into Woods’s death and the department’s use of force policies. Suhr and San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee also jointly requested the federal review, according to the DOJ statement, and “have publicly committed to providing the resources necessary for its successful completion.”

Protesters march toward Super Bowl City in San Francisco, Jan. 29, 2016. Jaeah Lee

The Justice Department’s review into SFPD, however, differs significantly from the “pattern and practice” investigations into police departments such as Ferguson and Cleveland. Pattern-and-practice investigations, handled by the Civil Rights Division and meant to identify department-wide civil rights violations, typically result in court-ordered reforms that are monitored by a judge or a third party, and sometimes last more than a decade. The SFPD review, led by the Office of Community Oriented Policing, will result in a report laying out recommended reforms as well as progress reports on their implementation. But those reviews tend to take place in a shorter time period, and the reforms are not legally binding.

Other cases

Woods’s death is the latest in a long line of controversies involving the San Francisco police and their use of force against citizens, particularly those suffering from mental health issues, and communities of color.

More than 60 percent of all fatal police shootings by SFPD cops since 2010 involved people who had a history of mental health problems, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Last February, 20-year-old Amilcar Perez-Lopez was shot to death by two plain-clothed SFPD officers in the Mission District neighborhood. Officials said he was carrying a knife.
A month later, a judge cleared four other cops for their involvement in the March 2014 death of 28-year-old Alex Nieto, who allegedly pointed a Taser at police officers. District Attorney George Gascon said the officers, who fired a total of 59 shots, reasonably mistook the Taser for a pistol.
SFPD also came under heightened scrutiny last April, when Suhr moved to fire 8 officers over their 2012 exchange of racist and homophobic text messages. In December, a judge ruled that the officers could not be fired or otherwise disciplined because the department waited too long to address the case, allowing a one-year statute of limitations for any personnel investigations—set by the Peace Officer Bill of Rights—to lapse.

Some experts have already expressed concern that the DOJ’s current review of SFPD does not go far enough.

“It doesn’t have the teeth that the Civil Rights’ Division investigation does,” Aaron Zisser, a former attorney for the division told the San Francisco Examiner on Monday. The current review, Zisser said, was a strong indicator that there will not be a broader civil rights investigation.

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The Feds Are Finally Investigating the San Francisco Police, But Here’s the Catch

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9 Tips for a Magical, Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

The irony of the holiday season is not lost on me.

How did we get from a symbolic meal of abundance, sharing, community, gratitude and family to people literally shoving anyone in their pathto get in the doors of a store on Thanksgiving Day?

It’s not the magic of the season I recall. We were definitely spoiled with a lot of gifts when I was a kid at Christmas, but being together with family remained the central theme. Little rituals like football with dad, or trying to help my frantic mother with the Thanksgiving dinner,or wrapping gifts with big bro at midnight on Christmas eve, while listening to cool tunes and getting educated on various nuances of rock history (listen to my brother’s excellent, entertaining AND educational radio show, Uncle Buggy Radio Show). These are the things I look back on with that gooey, tingly, warm and fuzzy glow. Do I remember the gifts? No, not so much.

I knew the gift was being with my family, even if we were at odds or snarking at each other or someone was too drunk. I knew this for sure after my father died and the magic went kind of dark, then many family members evacuated the planet in rapid succession, which demolished the holidays for me — for a time.

My well-meaning older sister fought hard to keep us all together and recreate the scenes of our youth, but it never really worked. As my children appeared (as if by magic in this story), I knew it was up to me to create meaningful holidays for them (and for the purpose of this post, “holidays” = Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years).

It was my turn to become the standard bearer of this season and set the backdrop of great memories for my offspring. Daunting task. It has evolved over the 30 years since my first was born (wow, can you imagine what I was like as a teen mom? just kidding . . . but I don’t feel as old as all this makes me sound!). Now I have a new role as a Ya Ya (grandmother), and as a green diva, it’s also about making the most eco-friendly holiday possible.

My motto now is buy less, make more, and when I have to buy, I buy local and if I can’t buy local I make for damned sure it is sustainably made, recyclable, and as eco-friendly as possible!

Watch this short and silly Green Divas holiday message, then read on for more ideas!

Here are a few ways to create magic and meaning in the holiday seasonwhilereducing theimpact on momma earth…

1. Peace starts within ~ if I want to have a more peaceful and fun holiday season, I have to take darn good care of myself from the inside out. It’s a marathon not a sprint, so take good care and it will be a lot easier for you and those around you! Read my post about personal energy conservation for the holidays.

2. Remembering the Reason for the Season ~ whatever holiday you celebrate, try not to be sucked into the commercial marketing aspect of it or the expectations of those that ARE sucked in. Be who you are and shine your love on those around you. No really. I’m not going to get too philosophical, but I’m not sure if there is any religion or belief system (that is a positive one) that being kind and loving and generous isn’t a theme.

3. Make stuff ~ I do a lot of holiday preparation with my kids now. From Thanksgiving dishes to holiday crafts, and at least one of my daughters has begun her own creative traditions. Spending time with them coming up with crafty and creative ideas and then sitting around making stuff is probably my very favorite thing to do over the holiday season. Make this amazing vegan hot cocoa gift for friends and family (and yourself). It’s always a huge hit!

4.Buy less ~ I stopped buying crappy plastic stocking stuffers and filler years ago, and I spend a lot of time coming up with USEFUL and cool items, many of which are locally crafted (by real artisans as opposed to my goofy attempts). As a family, we decided years ago to give up the multi-gift crazed thing for Christmas and just focus on handmade items and stockings. We spend less money, consume less packaging in store-bought items, and use much less wrapping paper, but we all have a great time getting creative. I prefer getting a few meaningful gifts than a mess of haphazard (even expensive) gifts.

5. Regift ~ seems like a cardinal sin or something, but honestly, we just have way too much stuff and there’s no reason to generate more stuff! I have jewelry to pass down to my girls, or books or special things from my mother and grandmother that have infinitelymore meaning to them than anything I could buy at the store (well almost anything).

6. Buy local ~ I rarely go into a shopping mall EVER, but I have not stepped foot in a mall betweenThanksgiving and New Years in many years now. I have my favorite local shops I go to for the few gifts I don’t make or regift. I am fortunate that I live an an extremely cool little town and I enjoy visiting the store owners and sharing my dollars with them, especially during the holiday season.

7. Stick to healthy routines ~ it’s a wonderful season to visit with friends and family and attend all those fun parties, butit’s not necessary to toss out all your healthy ways (or become the super annoying vegan drag at the party). There are a lot of ways to maintain balance even if your friends and family are not. Here’s a fun Green Divas Foodie-Philes featuring Jerry James Stone about how he has a healthy vegan/vegetarian holiday season:

8. Ease up on the decorations ~ for the love of whatever god you believe in (0r none at all), PLEASE don’t create a blow-up doll village on your lawn! I’m sure I’ve offended someone (sorry), but they are probably manufactured in China of questionable plastic fabric, and they use up more energy than we should be wasting on this stuff. Minimize the blazing lights not only for the energy savings, but there is a thing called light pollution, which is serious and we could light up the sky with some neighborhoods that compete for who can be most creative with their holiday light extravaganzas.

Listen to this Green Divas Radio Show from the archives for a great feature with the Dark Ranger, Kevin Poe who talks about light pollution.

9. Gratitude & giving always works ~ even if your family sucks and the world seems bleak for you this season, I bet there is someone who has it worse off than you. Get your gratitude on and go out there and be generous with your time, love, kindness, energy, whatever you have to give. You don’t have to spend money to give amazing gifts, and nothing gets me out of a funk like helping someone who has less. Read my post from last year on how to Be the Light during the holidays.

Written by Green Diva Meg|image via shutterstock

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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9 Tips for a Magical, Eco-Friendly Holiday Season

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