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Alabama Safe Access Update: Legislative Commission to Discuss Medical Marijuana Policy in Alabama

Unfortunately, the current session of the Alabama Legislature will be ending soon. However, Alabama Safe Access Project will continue the fight to bring safe access to the patients of Alabama. To that point, Alabama Safe Access Project is working with Representative Patricia Todd, (D) Birmingham, to form a commission to study the current medical research [Continue Reading] […]

Maria Rodale: How Nature Films Can Save the World

by guest blogger Leah Zerbe, online editor for Rodale.com “Mommy, look! Look, Mommy,” Della, my little 3-year-old niece, gleefully squealed as she flapped her “wings.” Eyes fixed on the TV screen, she emulated a young yellow jacket-like creature, freshly emerged from its cell, drying its wings, and getting ready to take on the world…the same natural world we often fail to appreciate and protect. (Not if my niece has anything to say about it.) Della’s our family’s Earth Baby. […]

Ted Danson: My Petition to the President – A Deaf Whale Is a Dead Whale

In the ocean you find a symphony of sound, from the clicking of snapping shrimp to the long mournful wails of whales, and zips of dolphins. Now imagine this oceanic soundscape shattered by dynamite-like blasts, every 10 seconds for days and even weeks on end. Blasts so loud they can literally deafen marine mammals that need to listen to live, possibly injuring or killing these animals by the tens of thousands. This grisly scenario may soon become a reality in an area of the Atlantic Ocean twice the size of California, where the Department of the Interior is currently reviewing a proposal to test the seafloor with seismic airguns, all in the speculative pursuit of more offshore oil and gas. Seismic airguns are towed behind ships. From there they discharge compressed air to generate intense pulses of sound, 100,000 times more intense than a jet engine. These sounds are loud and powerful enough to penetrate the earth’s crust and bounce back, potentially uncovering pockets of oil and gas deep beneath the ocean floor. Animals caught in the crossfire are considered collateral damage by the industry. In this case, the government — by its own, likely conservative, estimate — predicts that 138,000 marine mammals will be injured and possibly killed by the blasts in an area that stretches from Delaware to Florida. […]

Carolyn Mugar: Happy Birthday Willie

Mark Rothbaum, Willie Nelson’s manager, tells a story about a guy in Austin, Texas, who set his caller ID up under the name Willie Nelson. It wasn’t long before he started to hear from folks all over the country, thinking they were talking to the Willie Nelson. The calls he got on his voicemail were from devoted fans, folks looking for Willie’s help, people who were ill, farmers who were losing their farms, inmates at the county jail, people who just felt a connection with him. Over three years, he got more than 500 messages […]

Sister Mary Pendergast: Massachusetts Faith Leaders Go On Offense To Stop Keystone Pipeline

Today, when Massachusetts primary voters go to the ballot box, many will be considering an issue few were paying any attention to earlier in the race. If you wonder whether grassroots campaigns can still affect politics and political priorities, the vote today should give you hope. For the past month, Massachusetts faith leaders, feeling the looming federal deadline for a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, jumped into the April 30 Massachusetts primary election and made Keystone a major issue in the race when few thought it would even be mentioned by the candidates. The Good Steward Campaign — a grassroots advocacy organization of primarily young Christians — educated more than 600,000 Christian voters in Massachusetts about the importance of the Keystone XL pipeline. Responding to a massive online campaign led by pastors and nuns, an astounding 70,000 online actions were generated by these voters — either by signing a petition urging political leaders to oppose Keystone, encouraging friends to oppose Keystone over social media, or going to an online resource center so they could be more informed on election day. The success of their early efforts led other faith groups like American Values Network, Catholics United, and Interfaith Power and Light to mobilize their networks, which led to a number of national faith leaders travelling to Massachusetts to hold a rally drawing attention to this issue. The Keystone pipeline rapidly went from a side-issue to one of the top deciding factors between two otherwise similar candidates. Ed Markey opposed Keystone XL. […]

Rob Kampia: Marijuana Movement Following the Steps of the Gay Rights Movement

I have been saying for years that the movement to end marijuana prohibition has been following in the footsteps of the movement in support of gay rights, particularly marriage equality. Recent polling and legislative victories have made the connection even clearer to me, as well as many in the mainstream media. Both movements started around the same time. The Stonewall riots occurred in 1969. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws was founded in 1970. Both movements were plagued for decades by a lack of public approval. In 1996, just 26 percent of Americans supported the rights of gay and lesbian couples to marry, according to an annual survey conducted by the Pew Research Center. Support for making marijuana legal was not far behind at 25 percent. Both movements have benefited from their natural constituencies “coming out of the closet.” Leaders within the gay rights movement have encouraged members of the LGBT community to speak openly about their sexuality, particularly with their families and friends […]

Karl Grossman: Will New York Be First State to Require Labeling of GMO Food?

Will New York State be the first state in the nation to require the labeling of food containing what has become known as GMO — genetically modified organisms? More than 60 countries have enacted laws banning the use of GMO in producing food or requiring the labeling of food with ingredients that have utilized genetic modification or genetic engineering. But because of heavy pressure by the biotechnology industry, there are no such laws or regulations in the United States. There was an attempt in California in November to pass a referendum — Proposition 37 — requiring labeling of GMO food […]