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Introduction to Gaia

The Gaia theory (or hypothesis) is, basically, the idea of the Earth as a single entity that is self-regulated. This hypothesis forms part of “Earth System” science – a set of models in which life encourages and maintains suitable conditions for its ongoing existence. The originator of this school of thought is James Lovelock. He first developed his hypothesis in the 1960s while working with NASA and published an article in the science journal, Nature. At this time he expressed the idea in words such as: “Life, or the biosphere, regulates or maintains the climate and the atmospheric composition at...
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The Problem is Civil Obedience, Speech by Arthur Zinn

1970 from the Zinn Reader, Seven Stories Press Parts of speech by Howard Zinn I start from the supposition that the world is topsy-turvy, that things are all wrong, that the wrong people are in jail and the wrong people are out of jail, that the wrong people are in power and the wrong people are out of power, that the wealth is distributed in this country and the world in such a way as not simply to require small reform but to require a drastic reallocation of wealth. I start from the supposition that we don't have to say...
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'Not to share wealth with poor is to steal': Pope slams capitalism as 'new tyranny'

Published time: November 26, 2013 14:34 on Russia Today Pope Francis has taken aim at capitalism as "a new tyranny" and is urging world leaders to step up their efforts against poverty and inequality, saying "thou shall not kill" the economy. Francis calls on rich people to share their wealth. The existing financial system that fuels the unequal distribution of wealth and violence must be changed, the Pope warned. "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?" Pope...
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Learning by doing - 5 examples from my programme!

Hi my name is Paulius Baltakis and I’m from Lithuania.  When I became 24 years old I decided to change my life and I joined CICD. I m just a simple person who thinks that the world is what kind of place that you create by yourself.  And if you want to create it of your best vision first of all you must find yourself. So CICD is great place to start doing it. It helps me to keep my mind clean and keep focus on my goal. It gives me opportunity to live with people from all around Europe,...
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The Wars You Don’t See – about how the media is hiding the truth, by John Pilger

From Wikipedia   The War You Don't See is a 2010 British documentary film written, produced and directed by John Pilger with Alan Lowery, which challenges the media for the role they played in the Iraq, Afghanistan, and Israel/Palestine conflicts. The film begins with footage of an unreported July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike and black and white stills of the victims of the U.S. Occupation of Iraq. In his opening narration Pilger quotes World War I British Prime Minister David Lloyd George’s comment to Guardian editor C. P. Scott that, “If the people really knew the truth, the war would...
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El Sistema – a music movement for the poor in Venezuela, by Paul Smaczny and Maria Stodtmeier

El Sistema is a network of childrens and youth orchestras, music centres and workshops in Venezuela, in which more than 250,000 children and young people are currently learning to play an instrument. It was set up over thirty years ago by José Antonio Abreu, who was driven by the utopian vision of a better future. In the dangerous and poverty-stricken shanty towns of Caracas, Abreu lifts children out of poverty through music, changing both people and structures. The story, which has all the makings of a fairytale, is the extraordinary account of a vision that has become reality. Several of...
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Ghandi –about non-violent struggle for independence in India, by Richard Attenborough

From Wikipedia Gandhi is a 1982 epic biographical film which dramatises the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, an Indian lawyer and activist who was a leader of the nation's non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United Kingdom's rule of the country during the 20th century. Gandhi was a collaboration of British and Indian production companies and was written by John Briley and produced and directed by Richard Attenborough. It stars Ben Kingsley in the titular role. The film covers Gandhi's life from a defining moment in 1893, as he is thrown off a South African train for being in a...
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Cry Freedom – about the fight against apartheid in South Africa, by Richard Attenborough

From Wikipedia   Cry Freedom is a 1987 British drama film directed by Richard Attenborough, set in the late 1970s, during the apartheid era of South Africa. It was written from a screenplay by John Briley based on a pair of books by journalist Donald Woods. The film centres around the real-life events involving black activist Steve Biko and his friend Donald Woods, who initially finds him destructive, and attempts to understand his way of life. Denzel Washington stars as Biko, while actor Kevin Kline portrays Woods. Cry Freedom delves into the ideas of discrimination, political corruption, and the repercussions...
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King Leopold’s Ghost, by Adam Hochschild

From Wikipedia: King Leopold's Ghost (1998) is a best-selling popular history book by Adam Hochschild that explores the exploitation of the Congo Free State by King Leopold II of Belgium between 1885 and 1908, as well as the atrocities that were committed during that period. The book aims to increase public awareness of crimes committed by European colonial rulers in Africa. It was refused by nine of the ten U.S. publishing houses to which an outline was submitted, but became an unexpected bestseller and won the prestigious Mark Lynton History Prize for literary style. It also won the 1999 Duff...
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The Chock Doctrine, by Naomi Klein

In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries. At the most chaotic juncture in Iraq’s civil war, a new law is unveiled that would allow Shell and BP to claim the country’s vast oil reserves…. Immediately following September 11, the Bush Administration quietly out-sources...
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Freedom next time, by John Pilger

John Pilger is a very unusual journalist. He writes about people on the receiving end of grisly western policies - whether bombs or economic "advice" - and then exposes the motivations of those who are responsible. One might think Pilger is just doing his job. In fact, it is an indictment of western journalism that this way of working is rather unusual and Pilger unique. He opens by writing: "This book is about empire, its facades and the enduring struggle of people for their freedom. It offers an antidote to authorised versions of contemporary history that censor by omission and...
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Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins

From Wikipedia   Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a book written by John Perkins and published in 2004. It provides Perkins' account of his career with consulting firm Chas. T. Main in Boston. Before employment with the firm, he interviewed for a job with the National Security Agency (NSA). Perkins claims that this interview effectively constituted an independent screening which led to his subsequent hiring by Einar Greve, a member of the firm (and alleged NSA liaison) to become a self-described "economic hit man". According to Perkins, he began writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man in the...
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Gaia – a new look at life on earth, by James Lovelock

In this classic work that continues to inspire its many readers, James Lovelock deftly explains his idea that life on earth functions as a single organism. Written for the non-scientist, Gaia is a journey through time and space in search of evidence with which to support a new and radically different model of our planet. In contrast to conventional belief that living matter is passive in the face of threats to its existence, the book explores the hypothesis that the earth's living matter-air, ocean, and land surfaces-forms a complex system that has the capacity to keep the Earth a fit...
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Hidden Agendas, by John Pilger

In this powerful book, journalist and film maker John Pilger strips away the layers of deception, dissembling language and omission that prevent us from understanding how the world really works. From the invisible corners of Tony Blair's Britain to Burma, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa and the illusions of the 'media age', power, he argues, has its own agenda. Unchallenged, it operates to protect its interests with a cynical disregard for people - shaping, and often devastating, millions of lives. By unravelling the hidden histories of contemporary events, Pilger allows us to read between the lines. He also celebrates the eloquent...
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The State of Africa, by Martin Meredith

It is possible to believe that the many problems that Africa faces - war, genocide, poverty, famine - are the faults either of Western governments and financial institutions and/or the result of natural disasters. How is that an entire continent, pretty much, can be in such dire straights? Why is it that it is afflicted with so many deep-rooted and intractable problems? Martin Meredith's 'The State of Africa' seeks to explore the recent history of the continent, throwing much light on the answers to these difficult questions. Meredith's work has an enormous scope, covering as it does the entire continent,...
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Six Degrees by Mark Lynas

From Wikipedia   Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet is a non-fiction book by author Mark Lynas about global warming. The book looks and attempts to summarize results from scientific papers on climate change. The first chapter describes the expected effects of climate change with one degree (°C) increase in average global temperature since pre-industrial times. The second chapter describes the effects of two degrees average temperature and so forth until Chapter 6 which shows the expected effects of six degrees (°) average global temperature. The effects are also compare to paleoclimatic studies, with six degrees of warming...
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A Poison Tree - a poem from “Songs of Innocence and of Experience” by William Blake

  I was angry with my friend; I told my wrath, my wrath did end. I was angry with my foe: I told it not, my wrath did grow.  And I water'd it in fears, Night and morning with my tears: And I sunned it with smiles, And with soft deceitful wiles.  And it grew both day and night. Till it bore an apple bright. And my foe beheld it shine, And he knew that it was mine.  And into my garden stole, When the night had veil'd the pole; In the morning glad I see; My foe outstretched beneath...
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A poem by Pablo Neruda

I'm Explaining a Few Things. You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs? and the poppy-petalled metaphysics? and the rain repeatedly spattering its words and drilling them full of apertures and birds? I'll tell you all the news. I lived in a suburb, a suburb of Madrid, with bells, and clocks, and trees. >From there you could look out over Castille's dry face: a leather ocean. My house was called the house of flowers, because in every cranny geraniums burst: it was a good-looking house with its dogs and children. Remember, Raul? Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember...
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The City that Ended Hunger

A city in Brazil recruited local farmers to help do something U.S. cities have yet to do: end hunger. By Frances Moore Lappé , posted Feb 13, 2009 in Yes!Magazine “To search for solutions to hunger means to act within the principle that the status of a citizen surpasses that of a mere consumer.” CITY OF BELO HORIZONTE, BRAZIL In writing Diet for a Small Planet, I learned one simple truth: Hunger is not caused by a scarcity of food but a scarcity of democracy. But that realization was only the beginning, for then I had to ask: What does...
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Human rights destroyed by globalisation?

Example from India - one farmer every 30 minutes commits suicide.... During the 1990-s, the World Bank and IMF encouraged the Indian governements to adopt new economic policies such as "structural adjustment" and privatisation. Indias markets were opened to global trade and multinational corporations. The Indian government removed government support for farmers, and promoted heavily the change from subsistence farming to to cash crops, especially cotton. These changes made the Indian farmers very vulnerable - to international competition, to price falls...and without the safety net of government support. The rights of the farmers to a decent life, where they could...
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