Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chile Derails ‘Monsanto Law’ That Would Privatize Seeds

Reposted from:

Left: One of the delegations of social and environmental justice organizations that went to the Chilean parliament to lobby against the "Monsanto Law." / photo: Viviana Catrileo

SANTIAGO, Chile -- This month, rural women, indigenous communities, and farmers in Chile found themselves on the winning end of a long-fought battle against a bill that had come to be known by many in this country as simply, the “Monsanto Law.”

The bill, which would have given multinational agribusiness corporations the right to patent seeds they discover, develop or modify, was withdrawn by the Chilean government now controlled by newly elected members of the center-left coalition known as the New Majority, amid concerns that the law would bring harm to the country’s small and mid-sized farmers.

In making the announcement on March 17, new Secretary General Ximena Rincón pledged that the Chilean government will “analyze all that is known in our country and internationally about this issue in order to protect the rights of agricultural communities, small and medium-sized farmers, and the heritage of seeds in our country.”

Rincón has been a leading voice of opposition to the bill in the Chilean government, and part of a larger alliance of approximately fifteen organizations and elected officials across the country who have been lobbying and protesting its passage since the introduction of the bill four years ago.

“We reject this law because it is a threat to family farms and to biodiversity,” said Lucía Sepúlveda from the Alliance for a Better Quality of Life/Pesticide Action Network of Chile (RAP-AL Chile). Last August, her organization and thousands of other Chileans took to the streets of cities across the country in mass protests against the law.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Celebrating Vernal Equinox/Ostara!

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Celebrating Vernal Equinox/Ostara!

Welcome to our seasonal newsletter! 

"...  to me, a tree is more beautiful than a cathedral.
The tree is the kingdom of god on earth.  A tree is the pure land."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

March:  Awakening, Beginning, Emergence...   Thawing from the bitter winter and unearthing ourselves from record snowfalls.  We watch expectantly as the snow slowly melts into the earth in a slow-motion disappearance:  tiny islands of snow surrounded by spreading patches of brown, winter-beaten grass.  Rich with water, soft muddy earth yields perceptibly beneath each tentative footstep.  The chirp and cadence of birds is noticeably louder, stronger, and more inviting - enticing us, teasing us, exerting that inner 'pull', that yearning to be outside again following one of the snowiest winters in recent memory. 

In this issue, we re-introduce the earth holiday of Ostara, also called Eostara or Eostre from the Anglo-Saxon spring goddess of the same name.  The word for the Christian festival of Easter really refers back to this ancient goddess, and the eggs, bunnies and baby chicks that are featured so prominently in our culture's Easter celebrations are all Ostara fertility images.

However you choose to celebrate this holiday remember to be gentle with the earth and mindful of her limited resources.

Green Blessings!
Donna at Willow Moon Herbals

In this issue:

Celebrating Vernal Equinox/Ostara!

The vernal equinox celebrates the balance of light and dark, and is one of two days in the year when night and day are of equal length.  At this equinox, there is a shift that takes place as the 'earth' energy of winter gives way to the 'air' energy of Spring.  From the cold darkness of a thawing earth, sap begins to rise from the roots of trees, the winds begin to warm, and the sky is more full of our returning winged friends with their whirring and chirping filling our ears:  Air is spring's element, and links birds to our collective unconscious. 

Often, we don't realize how much we've missed the sound of birds all winter, until Spring brings their warbling back to us.  To honor the birds and the air element of spring, this would be a good time to clean the hair out of all the family's hairbrushes, and put it out for the birds to use for building their spring nests.   When you do this, send loving thoughts to the birds who are using your hair in the creation of their homes.