Is Peace Possible in an Era of Diminishing Water Supplies?
Water is so essential for life that wars have been fought over it. And with the accelerating pace of climate change, conflicts over water resources will become more frequent, widespread and intense. Even an agricultural powerhouse like Nebraska, sitting atop one of the largest fresh-water aquifers in the world, is projected to face water shortages in the decades to come. Potable water, it turns out, is not only essential for life. It’s essential to creating the conditions for peace.
Our diminishing water resources, fittingly enough, will be the subject of the keynote presentation at the 2014 Annual Peace Conference in Lincoln, Saturday, October 4. A panel of four presenters will provide an overview of our current water supply and use, projections for future availability, the social and economic impact of water (and food) shortages, and local initiatives to address this looming peril. Dr. Ann Bleed, past director of the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, is a hydrologist and expert on state and regional water policy. Professor Clint Rowe is a UNL climatologist and co-author of the university’s climate assessment slated for release September 25. Retired UNL professor and NFP president emeritus Paul Olson is one of the premier authorities on peacemaking in the state. And State Senator Ken Haar, District #21, is the Nebraska Legislature’s leading environmental advocate. Together these four panelists will provide a well-rounded perspective on the challenge climate change and resource scarcity present to human society and the earth’s ecosystem. Read more
Posted in: Announcements
Poet and author Mondo E. we Langa has been designated a “Political Prisoner” by Amnesty International for his wrongful conviction in the 1970 death of an Omaha Police officer while he and his colleague, Ed Poindexter, were the target of the FBI’s infamous “COINTELPRO” program. Mondo wrote the following “Juneteenth Statement” at the request of Nebraskans for Justice for distribution at this year’s June 21 commemoration in Lincoln.
As an African in the United States, when I think of Juneteenth, it is not the so-called ‘freeing’ of the slaves that I think of, or the announcements concerning the official ending of slavery. Rather, I think of those—such as Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, Denmark Vesey and others—who risked their lives to obtain freedom, not only for themselves and their families, but for all who were being held in bondage.
Chattel slavery was free labor obtained through physical force. Maybe 50 years ago, the saxophonist Rahsaan Roland Kirk, composed a song entitled “Volunteered Slavery.” When a person volunteers to be a slave, he or she is doing something that either does not benefit him or herself or actually works to his or her detriment. And he or she does so without being threatened with physical harm or pain. In this year 2014, while we commemorate the ending of chattel slavery, we have to face the reality that many of us have become volunteer slaves—slaves to clothes with designer names affixed to them, slaves to electronic gadgets, slaves to media hype about celebrities, slaves to the double-talk and rhetoric of politicians, slaves to all manner of mind-numbing nonsense and mayhem. Surely it is a travesty to be rid of one type of slavery, only to replace it with another. Read more
Posted in: Civil Rights & Economic Justice
The following article by UNO Communications Professor Bruce Johansen and John Atkeison, Energy Policy Director for the Nebraska Wildlife Federation, originally appeared in the July 2014 issue of Prairie Fire (www.prairiefirenewspaper.com) and is reprinted with permission.
Omaha Public Power District is Nebraska’s leader in the use of wind power to make electricity, and thanks to a decision by its board of directors, it has maintained the ability to retain that ranking. On June 19 the OPPD board unanimously adopted a plan that maintains a level of clean renewable energy power equal to at least one-third of its generated electricity for twenty years, among other things. Read more
Posted in: What's HOT in Global Warming
by A’Jamal-Rashad Byndon
In recent years, there has been a disproportionate increase in violence in the African American community in Nebraska (particularly in Omaha). An examination of the local crime data from the U.S. Department of Justice, local police reports, the Omaha World-Herald crime reporting process, and the race of inmates locked up in our state’s jails and prisons shows that African Americans have more than their share of crimes committed in their homes and neighborhoods. This steady but documented increase has caused a great deal of cognitive dissonance for many who would like to believe otherwise. Reactions among the state’s African American population run from open embarrassment, to charges of under-reporting of crimes among other constituency groups, to blaming generations of racism and oppression for this higher crime rate.
Regardless of the cause, however, the real question is, can we as one community, black and white, have a frank conversation about this burgeoning problem—and, after talking about it, are we in a position to effectively take steps to address it? Read more
Posted in: Turn Off the Violence
by Mark Welsch
NFP Omaha Coordinator
Nebraskans for Peace was the recipient of the 2014 Gandhi Award, presented by The Grace Abbott School of Social Work at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Customarily, this annual award—named in honor of the legendary Indian nonviolent activist, Mohandas Gandhi—goes to an individual. But Nebraskans for Peace was honored in recognition of its 44 years of service as the nation’s oldest statewide Peace & Justice organization. This award is a tribute to everyone who has ever been a member of NFP.
NFP President Mark Vasina and State Board member Frank LaMere, a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, accepted the award on the organization’s behalf from the School’s director, Dr. Amanda Randall. In the audience were approximately 25 NFP members, including long-time activists Loyal Park, Virginia Walsh, El Siebert, Anne Else, Henry D’Souza and Jo Peterson. Read more
Posted in: Announcements