“Lionfish” – Poem by Nancy Anne Miller

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Lionfish

Lionfish – Coral Reef – West Atlantic Ocean
Photo Credit: NOAA Fisheries

My Poetry Corner July 2015, features the poem “Lionfish” by Bermudian poet, Nancy Anne Miller. Although lying outside the Caribbean Region, Bermuda – a British island territory in the North Atlantic Ocean – became an associate member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), in 2003 to strengthen its shared cultural ties.

After hearing about the lionfish some years ago, I never gave it much thought until I recently read Nancy Anne Miller’s poem published in the latest issue of The Arts Journal. With her precise and vivid imagery, the poet grabbed my attention.

Without dillydallying, the poet takes us face-to-face with the lionfish: an aggressive, exotic creature. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Map of Western Pacific Ocean

Western Pacific Ocean showing location of Philippines, Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Vanuatu and Fiji
Source: Wikipedia

Six Tiny Island Countries to Sue Big Oil for Disrupting the Climate

We, the people of Vanuatu, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Fiji, Solomon Islands and the Philippines continue to experience the impacts of climate change… We commit to bring a case that would investigate the human rights implications of climate change and hold the big carbon polluters accountable to appropriate international bodies or processes.
~ People’s Declaration for Climate Justice, Port Vila, Vanuatu, 8 June 2015, published by TruthOut.

Is the Dominican Haitians Humanitarian Crisis a sign of things to come in the Caribbean Region?

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Hispaniola - Greater Antilles - Caribbean Sea

Haiti & Dominican Republic – Greater Antilles – Caribbean Region
Source: ABC Voyage

In the Dominican Republic, undocumented Haitian immigrants and Dominicans of Haitian descent now face mass deportation unless they can present documentation of their legal residential status. June 17, 2015, was the deadline for compliance.

Haiti, with a population of over 9.9 million, is a member state of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). The Dominican Republic, with a population of over ten million, has CARICOM Observer status. In 2004, the country became a fully integrated member of the Central American Free Trade Agreement, since known as CAFTA-DR.

In September 2013, a Constitutional Tribunal ruling changed the DR’s citizenship policy. The ruling revoked automatic citizenship granted to children born to immigrants, as far back as 1929, throwing into a quagmire almost a quarter-million Dominicans, 83 percent of Haitian descent. Then in May 2014, the DR passed a law regulating the naturalization of people born in the country to undocumented immigrants.

By the deadline, 96 percent of applicants lacked the necessary documentation for legal resident status. Reports have surfaced that the foreign minister has extended the deadline for another 45 days. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Pope Francis - Care for Our Common Home
Photo Credit: Catholic Church of Montreal

On Care for Our Common Home

[W]e need only take a frank look at the facts to see that our common home is falling into serious disrepair… The natural environment is a collective good, the patrimony of all humanity and the responsibility of everyone… Unless citizens control political power – national, regional and municipal – it will not be possible to control damage to the environment.
~ Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home, Encyclical Letter of Pope Francis dated 24 May 2015, published 18 June 2015 (excerpts from pages 44, 70 & 132).

Father, where are you?

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Syrian Children outside UNHCR Tent - Jordan Refugee Camp

Syrian Children outside their UNHCR Tent – Refugee Camp in Jordan
Photo Credit: UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) /M. Abu Asaker

We live in a patriarchal world. With relatively few exceptions, our fathers, our men, determine the direction and evolution of our societies. This Father’s Day—with persistent inequality, a permanent state of violence and war, climate mayhem, and escalating destruction of human habitats—I ask: Father, where are you?

Father, where are you when a son goes on a shooting rampage, killing other human beings because he believes he has the right to do so?

Father, where are you when the leaders of our governments send our sons and daughters to fight in illegitimate wars of domination? Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Video: Kids vs Global Warming
Source: Young Voices on Climate Change

Young Voices for the Planet is a film series featuring young people who are making a difference! They are shrinking the carbon footprint of their homes, schools and communities. You, too, can do something about global warming! As Alec Loorz says, “Kids Have Power.”
~ Lynne Cherry, Founder & Director of Young Voices for the Planet.

Celebrating Caribbean American Heritage

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Map CARICOM Member States

Map of CARICOM Member States
Source: Your US-Brazil Trade Assist

Since 2006 by annual presidential proclamation, June is National Caribbean American Heritage Month in recognition of the significance of Caribbean people and their descendants to the history and culture of the United States. As President Obama said in his Proclamation on May 29, 2015:

Caribbean Americans have shaped the course of our country since the earliest chapters of our history, and they continue to drive our Nation to realize the promise of our founding.  During National Caribbean-American Heritage Month, we honor the courage and perseverance of the Caribbean-American community, and we rededicate ourselves to building opportunity and protecting human rights for all our citizens. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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G7 Summit Germany 2015

German Chancellor Angela Merkel with G7 Leaders and Invitees
G7 Summit – Germany – June 7-8, 2015
Photo Credit: The Guardian (Sven Hoppe)

G7 leaders agree to phase out fossil fuel use by end of century

[W]e emphasize that deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are required with a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century. [W]e support …the latest IPCC recommendation of 40 to 70% reductions by 2050 compared to 2010 recognizing that this challenge can only be met by a global response.
~ Leaders’ Declaration G7 Summit, Germany, 7-8 June 2015, pp. 12-13.

My Greatest Fear in Brazil

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Bus Terminal - Praca Coracao de Jesus - Fortaleza - Ceara - Brazil

Bus Terminal – Praça Coração de Jesus – Fortaleza – Ceará – Brazil
Photo Credit: Agência Fato

When my sons were young, my greatest fear was dying and leaving them orphans in Brazil—a fear triggered by a near-death experience.

I had just gotten off the bus at the terminal in the Praça Coração de Jesus in downtown Fortaleza. In those days, there was no divider separating the bus lanes from the street. Cleared for crossing with the red light, I was in the middle of the street when I heard the roar of a speeding car. The tires screeched as the driver took a right turn at high velocity, heading straight at me. Continue reading

Climate Disruption: Thought of the Week

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Thawing Permafrost

Robert Spencer of Florida State University
& Paul Mann of Northumbria University
sample permafrost thaw in Siberia
Photo Credit: Aron Stubbins

Thawing Permafrost Feeds Climate Change

New research finds that single-cell organisms called microbes are rapidly devouring the ancient carbon being released from thawing permafrost soil and ultimately releasing it back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
~ Press Release of the American Geophysical Union: “Detecting the signature of permafrost thaw in Arctic Rivers,” Research Letter by Robert G.M. Spencer and others, Geophysical Research Letters, 27 April 2015.

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