ANSWER logoLA

Protest at CNN Building
SEIZE BP’S ASSETS NOW!
Don’t Let CEO Tony Hayward Cover BP’s Crimes!

Thursday, June 17, 5pm
CNN Building
6430 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028
(Corner of Sunset & Cahuenga)
Map Bus & Metro

On Thursday, June 17, BP CEO Tony Hayward will testify before Congress. He’ll attempt to cover for the most recently exposed criminal negligence of BP.

Internal BP emails and other documents that recently surfaced reveal what we have been saying all along: BP’s unfettered drive for super-profits is what caused the spill.

On what a BP engineer called the “nightmare well,” BP executives cut corners, refused to perform essential safety tests, ignored warnings from experts, and side-stepped required safety mechanisms in an attempt to maximize their profits. Now, 11 workers are dead, many thousands of families on the Gulf Coast have had their livelihoods destroyed, and the catastrophic effect on the ocean grows more severe by the day.

On Thursday, Tony Hayward will tell congress why his company, which made $5.6 billion in just the last quarter, is absolved of all responsibility. As we’ve seen the U.S. government coddle and submit to BP for the last 2 months, we know that it’s going to take outrage and action by the people to hold BP accountable.

Come out and protest at the CNN building–one of the busiest corners in Hollywood–to demand that our voices be heard. With the momentum of the Seize BP campaign growing around the country, our demands have entered the national debate. Being in the streets as Tony Hayward covers up BP’s crimes is essential to keep up the pressure and demand real justice.

For more info call 213-251-1025 or email la@seizebp.org.

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Asalamualikum,

This posting is part of a continuous effort of raising awareness about the issue of oil spill within the Muslim communities.  What roles can we take with the most positive manners? What can be done about this disaster facing upon us?

The following are just some quick facts about the oil spill which MANY of us are not too aware of.

The DEPTH of this spill –

  • Massive oil clouds known as “plumes” have been detected 400 feet deep (other studies have found them over 1,000 feet deep).
  • The argument that oil plumes could not exist deep in water because oil rises to the top of water due to its density does not necessarily cancel out the possibility of the plumes. The reason being that the source of the leaking oil is a well very deep under water that is spewing the oil out at very high pressures, causing the oil to mix with the water while it moves towards the surface, forming an oil-water combination. While water by itself is not as dense as oil, this oil-water mixture is actually denser and therefore could cause oil by itself to form plumes and remain deep underwater. It is extremely difficult to try to remediate at that depth (we need more microbes!?).
  • Devastation at such depths is hard to calculate and fathom, as this level holds a great amount of very essential sea life and could therefore be the beginning of a serious impact on vital food chains for sea and land animals, as well as humans.
  • Native wetlands are being destroyed, and water levels are rising against threatened levees due to the spill. All of this can and likely will lead to an intensified hurricane season (while issues such as oil spills and global warming do not necessarily CAUSE hurricanes, they can GREATLY intensify them, potentially shaping a minor storm into a deadly one).

  • Since the spill, temperature readings in the basin have been up. Higher water temperatures are quite possibly the greatest intensifier for storms and hurricanes (which we witnessed in the last few years). The hurricane season in the area typically starts at the end of May and lasts until November.
  • The spill is not necessarily limited to the Gulf area, as the Gulf is home to an amazing naturally occurring water movement known as a “loop current” that can carry the oil all the way to North Carolina. While, the loop current will likely stop there, other spin-off currents can carry it further, all the way to the East Coast of the U.S. So we should not consider this contained within this specific area as the oil and effects it carries can spread. All the more reason to push BP for a more active and costly (which IS  totally affordable!) clean up/remediation.

  • Much of this can and should be blamed on the hazardous, destructive, and hopefully dated practice of offshore drilling.
  • The Federal Govt and others are using this as a push for new “clean energy” (LNG or “liquefied natural gas”). BP was far ahead of ExxonMobil (who is now leading the way) and other major oil companies with the LNG project, heavily focused in Qatar. But, BP later dropped the plan in favor of other opportunities (e.g. offshore drilling – the cause of this disaster).
  • Shell Oil is now headed to the Arctic for more offshore drilling similar to BP. Activists are already fighting to stop them and avoid another disaster.
  • By the way don’t fall too quickly for the “clean energy” bit with ExxonMobil. We can save that for another day, insha’Allah.

DO: Make Du`a!!!

DO: Reduce your oil consumption. Cosmetics, paint & cleaning products – read the tabs/labels.

DO: Spread awareness.

DO: Push for legislative action 2010. Head to the polls and vote for local candidates who support environmental protection, including a new U.S. energy policy. You can also send a message to President Obama demanding a stop to offshore drilling through a form at the Sierra Club website.

DON’T: Boycott BP gas stations. We will be hurting the local station owners NOT BP.

Please add onto the list insha’Allah

Stay up-to-the-minute on the response to the spill at DeepwaterHorizonResponse.com

if you have hair on your head or a furry little pet friend.

My soon to be cousin-in-law had just got back from the hair salon with a spiffy new hair cut. When I commented on how nice she looked she explained that she really didn’t want the cut, but when she heard that salons were collecting human and animal hair in an effort to suck up all the oil from the Gulf of Mexico, she just had to.

An organization by the name of Matter of Trust are collecting human and animal hair and nylon socks  to create hair mats to be stuffed into booms in an effort to soak up oil. All kinds of hair are accepted, even dyed hair, they ask that you please have your hair shampooed before donating it.

For more information, please visit the Matter of Trust website.

What in blazes is going on with the world’s bees? I keep reading all these stories about how a significant percentage of the world’s beehives are failing and that all the bees are dying.

A phenomenon attributed to everything from global warming to insecticides to radiation from cell phone towers have seen a resurgence in repetitions of a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, citations claiming the noted scientist once said “ if the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.  YIKES!

Perhaps you think of bees simply as a summertime nuisance. But these small and hard-working insects actually make it possible for many of your favorite foods to reach your table. From apples to almonds to the pumpkin in our pumpkin pies, we have bees to thank.

More than $15 billion a year in U.S. crops are pollinated by bees.  Bees Keep Our Economy Humming!

 The Bee has continued through the millennia as a symbol of the soul’s survival after death and limitless existence in the harmony of the Golden age of the World.

The remarkable service that Bees provide as pollinators of plants and trees and producers of life-affirming nectar has largely been taken for granted. It’s only when Bees started to disappear and actually die in alarming numbers did popular culture take notice, and only then out of a morbid sort of curiosity. But it has not always been this way. In fact, Bees were venerated in prehistory and revered in ancient cultures far and wide, especially in Egypt.

In ancient Egypt, the bee was an insignia of kingship associated particularly with Lower Egypt.  Honey bees, signifying immortality and resurrection, were royal emblems of the Merovingians, revived by Napoleon.

Bees were portrayed on the walls of Egyptian tombs and offerings of honey were routinely presented to the most important Egyptian deities. Indeed, honey was the ‘nectar of the gods’, and Egyptian physicians valued its medicinal value in many important procedures.

Today we can observe that in the Quran, the honey bee is mentioned more specifically than other animals.

 (Surat an-Nahl (The Bee), 68-69)

“And your Lord taught the honey bee ….”

“And your Lord taught the honey bee to build its cells in hills, on trees, and in (men’s) habitations; Then to eat of all the produce (of the earth), and find with skill the spacious paths of its Lord: there issues from within their bodies a drink of varying colors, wherein is healing for men: verily in this is a Sign for those who give thought.

It is noteworthy that the amount of honey stored by the bees is much more than their actual need. The question which comes to the mind is why this “excessive production”, which seems to be a waste of time and energy is not stopped? The answer to this question is hidden in the verse which states that the bee is “taught” so by the Lord.

Actually, the Bee is the only insect that communicates through dance, yet this largely forgotten trait is one of the reasons why Bee imagery from antiquity is often lost on the untrained eye.

Bees innately produce honey not only for themselves but also for the human beings. As a matter of fact, bees, like many other beings in nature, are offered to the service of man.

It is generally known that honey is a fundamental food source for the human body. A basic foodstuff, but which can also be a drink – like milk with which it is often associated, honey is a symbol of richness and sweetness in all traditions. In the sacred texts of East and West, milk and honey flow like a stream through the promised land.

All the great prophets refer to honey in the Scriptures. Speech is honey, it represents softness, justice, virtue and divine goodness. The Koran uses holy terms to talk of bees and honey :”Honey is the first blessing that God gave the earth”.

For the Egyptians, honey was the tears of the god Râ and was a part of all the religious offerings in pharaonic Egypt. In Islam, according to the Prophet, it restores sight, preserves health and resuscitates the dead.

In modern psychoanalytical thinking, honey symbolizes the “higher self” , the ultimate consequence of work on one’s inner self. As the result of the transmutation of ephemeral pollen into a delicious food of immortality, honey symbolizes the transformation by initiation, the conversion of the soul, and the complete integration of the person.

The Bee Hive is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the lowest reptile in the dust. It teaches us that we come into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down content while our fellow creatures around us are in want, especially when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves.

A community of honey bees has often been employed by political theorists as a model of human society. This metaphor occurs in Aristotle and Plato.

It is estimated that in North America around 30% of the food humans consume is produced from bee pollinated plant life. The value of pollination by bees is estimated around $16 billion in the US alone. We would be unable to enjoy most of our favorite fruits, vegetables, or nuts without these pollinators. Bees also pollinate crops such as clover and alfalfa that cattle feed on, making bees important to our production and consumption of meat and dairy.

When we look deeply enough, we discover a disturbing force that is fundamental in generating our dilemmas and crises, a force that is not actually hidden at all but is staring up at us every day from our plates! It has been lying undiscovered all along in the most obvious of places: It is our food.

Food is not only a fundamental necessity; it is also a primary symbol in the shared inner life of every human culture, including our own. It is not hard to see that food is a source and metaphor of life, love, generosity, celebration, pleasure, reassurance, acquisition, and consumption.

When we practice eating for spiritual health and social harmony, we practice making certain essential connections that our culturally induced food rituals normally require us to block from awareness.

Food is actually our most intimate and telling connection both with the natural order and with our living cultural heritage. Through eating the plants and animals of this earth we literally incorporate them, and it is also through this act of eating that we partake of our culture’s values and paradigms at the most primal and unconscious levels. As children, through constant exposure to the complex patterns of belief surrounding our most elaborate group ritual, eating food, we ingested our culture’s values and invisible assumptions. Like sponges, we learned, we noticed, we partook, and we became acculturated. Now, as adults, finding our lives beset with stress and a range of daunting problems of our own making, we rightly yearn to understand the source of our frustrating inability to live in harmony on this earth.

Forefathers of the American Revolution incorporated the symbolism of the Bee into the very fabric of our government. This should not be regarded as unusual.  Early American statesmen shared a bond with other more time-honored nations that enabled Bee symbolism to be transmitted across the globe and into a new era.

The Bee remains an important symbol to the Egyptians – as well as other ancient civilizations – before being adopted by the United States of America. The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century

Live and Learn. We All Do.

Thanks for reading. Please pass this on to someone who means something to you.

Unfortunately we were unable to post the pictures through flikr because Alhamdulilah we received a large amount of pictures and there is a monthly limit for posting on Flikr..so we had to play around a bit and finally chose to post the pictures on the GD facebook page. Please vote for your favorite picture there. I understand not everyone has Facebook…in that case please email me at (naadiya.patel@gmail.com) so that I can have the albums mailed to you.

Visit the Green Deen FB page

DRAWING CONTEST

April 19, 2010

Assalamulaikum….some people have brought it to my attention that the due date for the drawing contest is posted as April 16th. This is a clarification that the drawings will insha’Allah be due tomorrow at 3pm. We look forward to seeing all of your beautiful drawings 🙂

In an effort to raise environmental awareness among the Muslim youth, the Green Deen team is inviting students from all over to participate in an Earth Day drawing contest. Drawings will be due on April 19, 2010. Below are some details along with the flier (sorry, for some reason I cannot get the flier to come up clear in this entry, but if you click it you can expand it and view it that way insha’Allah).

Details for the contest are as follows:

Draw, paint, make a collage (any a kind of art form) a picture that describes what being environmentally friendly or “living green” means to you. You may include recycling, animals, words, numbers, etc. Pictures must be on 11X17 paper. Sorry, buildings or sculptures are not accepted.

Winners will be chosen from each grade level. Voting categories include:

Pre-school to 2nd Grade

3rd Grade to 6th Grade

7th Grade to 8th Grade

General

We encourage students to create these drawings on their own. However if help is given by parents, please be honest and tell us. You will still be able to participate for the General category.

Voting for the winner will be done by the community. Finalist pictures will posted on the Green Deen website (www.greendeen.wordpress.com) to allow the community to place their votes.

Please turn your painting into your teacher or turn it into the office (if you attend OCS, Minaret Academy or New Horizon) by April 16th, 2010 at 3pm . Late drawings will not be accepted.

When turning in your drawing, be sure to include your first and last name and your grade and if you have received help from and adult.

If you are not a student at New Horizon Irvine, Orange Crescent School or Minaret Academy, please scan and email your drawing to Sr. Naadiya at naadiya.patel@gmail.com.

If you have any questions, please contact Sr. Naadiya by email or by phone at  562-213-6835.

Happy Drawing!

There is not an animal (that lives) on the earthnor a being that flies on its wingsbut(forms part of) communities like you

Throughout history we are reminded of our duty to uphold our responsibility to the earth and ourselves.

In our fast-paced, modern life-style it is hard to see just how connected things are especially when we are so far removed from our “natural” source.  That would be why we now have a term called Nature Deficit Disorder…

Ecosystems provide the life support systems for all life, including human life, on Earth. Not only do they give us food and fuel, but ecosystems, among other things, purify air and fresh water, bind and detoxify poisonous substances, break down wastes and recycle nutrients on land and in the oceans, pollinate crops and natural vegetation, make soils fertile, and store carbon, mitigating human-caused climate change.

No matter what conventional wisdom says we can’t deny the fact that our human body is an organic, self-constituted, sovereign whole, and is subject to the same natural forces to which animals and plants are subject.

The loss of species deprives us of invaluable tools for biomedical research that provide insights into how human cells and organ systems function in health and illness, and precludes our developing important new medicines for currently untreatable human diseases.

We tend to take these services for granted and generally do not recognize that we cannot live without them. Nor do we understand many ecosystem services well enough to recreate them, not knowing what species are necessary for the services to work and in what proportions, or whether for some services there are essential or “keystone” species without which ecosystems would cease to function.

We live from and within the world of diversity and we are a part of that totality; and it’s that magnificent variety of life on Earth that has astonished members of our own species ever since we arrived on the scene.

We must do better at taking care of the rest of life and ourselves.

The Price of Organic

Have you recently taken a moment to pause and see what’s going on in our grocery stores lately?

I think it’s fair to say that today there is a general move towards eating healthy.  And if you happen to live in an upscale neighborhood like I do it’s possible that you can take your grocery shopping experience for granted.

Grocery stores are often few and far between in low-income areas, so people frequently rely on fast food outlets for meals. According to information presented at the November 1999 Community Food Security Workshop in Chicago, for example, “in one neighborhood in East Los Angeles, there were approximately 700 liquor stores and only one grocery store within a twenty-mile area. That grocery store stocked its meat and produce sections with the lowest-quality product, offering wilted vegetables and meat with sell-by dates that had expired.”

But those of us who don’t have that problem have another problem.  Recently I find myself driving all over town to find good quality produce for the right price – this whole trend toward organic is literally costing my family a fortune – and most likely yours as well.

Did you know that Organics is an over $20 billion undertaking? The stuff is NOT cheap! People who buy organic tend to spend at least $100 extra per week at the grocery store.

Many buyers of “organic” foods believe that the extra money they pay will ultimately benefit the environment by encouraging more farmers to use “organic” methods. But doing this cannot have much effect because “organic” agriculture is too inefficient to meet the world’s food needs. Moreover, the dividing line between organic and conventional agriculture is not sharp because various practices are not restricted to one or the other. For example, “organic” farmers tend not to use pesticides, but faced with threatened loss of crops, they may change their mind. If certain patterns of pesticide use cause more harm than good and there is a way to remedy the situation, the people concerned about it can seek regulatory solutions. I don’t believe that paying extra for food will benefit anybody but those who sell it.

The Claim of Better Nutrition: The general population seems to believe that organic foods are just jam packed with nutrition, and that the regular fruits and veg you buy in the grocery store is inferior in this sense. Of course, organic food fans argue that you get more bang for your buck because of the vitamins, minerals and lack of nitrates. The “reality sour-puss” sites sources that say that none of these claims stand up to scrutiny.Most likely because we can’t modify the weather patterns that affect the surface of our earth.

People, all plants and animals are organic. Pretty much everything you eat comes from a plant or an animal, and so it is organic. Organic refers to a compound molecule based on carbon. So “Organic” foods aren’t really any more or less organic than comparable foods you just get from the supermarket.

“Organic” is just a meaningless buzzword

What is Organic? Technically, any substance containing carbon is organic. Both naturally occurring and manmade products may be organic. The common misconception that “organic” and “natural” have the same meaning may cause nontechnical consumers to believe that a manmade organic material is natural when it is not.

So why do they say we buy organic anyway? It’s because of our politics. It’s maybe even to be a little bit better than our neighbors. But if we only all understood the true value of nutrition and it’s fundamental role to everyone’s happiness maybe it would be a different story.

Do you pay close attention to how much you spend for electricity? 

Perhaps, I should pay more attention to my utility bills, but between e-bills, automatic payment from my checking account, and daily life, I often neglect to see details of how much utility I use each month.  It turns out that between my sister and I, we consume about 12 kilo Watt Hour per a day for last two months.  According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, California’s average residential unit uses 587 kwh monthly or 19.6 kwh daily — which is much less than the U.S. average of 920 kwh.  Considering that every households have similar overhead utility usage, such as kitchen and living room, I do not think my electricity bill is not that bad — but, I suppose I can cut a few more, perhaps by not writing this blog entry at night, and just turn the lights off and go to sleep.

Speaking of electricity bills, Los Angeles City Council today voted to increase its Department of Water and Power electricity rate by 0.6 cents per kwh.  Now, this proposal still needs to be approved by DWP Commissioners and according to news reports, L.A. Mayor Villaraigosa, who appoints DWP Commissioners, may not endorse this proposal, citing that the rate increase is not enough.  The proposed rate increase attempts to address two issues — 1) to help bring up financial health of DWP, and 2) built a larger investment pool for green energy production.  The 0.6 cents rate increase will cover 0.5 cents to address the former, and 0.1 cent to address the latter — and will cost users about 4.5% more, while the Mayor was seeking for 0.8 cents rate increase, which will draw 0.3 cents per kwh to green energy investment.

Is it a small price to pay?  That seems to be the question in L.A. City Council, according to reports.   Indeed, rate increases are not the most politically popular move to make while the economy is still in a deep hole.  We are talking about $30-40 per year, perhaps — sure, it may not be a large amount for some of us.  You can easily spend that amount for an evening out in town, but is it the same for everyone in L.A.?  — Probably, not.  On the other hand, the Mayor is probably right by saying that 0.1 cent per kwh will not generate enough funding pool for the City to rigorously invest on green energy technology and create more jobs.

It will be interesting to see what DWP Commissioners will decide at the end — and also interesting would be how this DWP rate increase will affect other utility providers such as Southern California Edison and other municipality to approach their electricity rate and tieing up with green energy investment.