Without a doubt a global housing crisis is hurting all of us. In the majority world basic housing needs aren’t being met while in the richer minority world owning a home is out of reach for the average person. These issues might seem worlds apart but that’s not how the United Nations approaches it.
Leilani Farha, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing, is leading the charge against profit hungry landlords and arguing for shelter for everyone. She’s featured in the documentary Push (video above) and since the filming she’s still going strong holding evil corporations to account.
“Their business model, of which Blackstone is a frontrunner, is becoming the industry standard. Properties that are deemed ‘undervalued’, which generally means affordable to those living there, are being purchased en masse, renovated, and then offered at a higher rental rate, pricing tenants out of their own homes and communities. Landlords have become faceless corporations wreaking havoc with tenants’ right to security and contributing to the global housing crisis.”
The experts said they had heard countless stories of tenants’ whose buildings had been bought by private equity firms and whose rents had skyrocketed almost immediately afterward, sometimes by 30 or even 50 percent, making it impossible for them to remain.
Nuclear weapons are an existential threat to humanity. If they are used in violence it is likely that the planet would enter a period of nuclear winter – meaning that if you don’t die in the initial waves of explosions you’ll die from starvation. Not a good thing to think about.
Thankfully, yesterday 122 members of the United Nations signed a treaty committing them to a ban on nukes. Countries like the USA, France, and other nuke-loving countries didn’t sign it, still it sends a clear message: the rest of the world doesn’t want anybody to use nuclear weapons. The timing of the signing is quite symbolic given what Trump said during his speech at the UN earlier this week.
“The Treaty is an important step towards the universally-held goal of a world free of nuclear weapons. It is my hope that it will reinvigorate global efforts to achieve it,” he added, acknowledging the contributions made by civil society and the hibakusha – the atomic bomb survivors.
At the same time, Mr. Guterres, highlighted the difficult road ahead by recalling that there remain some 15,000 nuclear weapons in existence. “We cannot allow these doomsday weapons to endanger our world and our children’s future,” he said.
You probably already heard the good news about the end of Keystone XL with Obama killing the proposal. This is a good symbolic step in ending the exploitation of the tar sands in Alberta, plus this comes just a few weeks before COP21.
COP21 is the upcoming United Nations climate change conference which is set to run from Nov. 30 to Dec.11. In the light of Keystone being killed it gives people hope that Obama will actually do something about climate change.
On the Canadian side of the border Prime Minster Trudeau (who loves pipelines, sigh) has cast Catherine McKenna as Canada’s minister of environment and climate change. A new title acknowledging that climate change is real and has to be dealt with – a step forward from the idiotic climate approach from the Conservatives previously in power.
Keystone XL being nixed may be just the thing North America needs to show up at COP21. With the pipeline project over, other countries may actually start respecting North America on environmental matters.
TransCanada first applied for Keystone permits in September 2008 — shortly before Obama was elected. As envisioned, Keystone would snake from Canada’s oilsands through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, then connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000 barrels of crude oil a day to specialized refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.
Democrats and environmental groups latched onto Keystone as emblematic of the type of dirty fossil fuels that must be phased out. Opponents chained themselves to construction equipment and the White House fence in protest, arguing that building the pipeline would be antithetical to Obama’s call for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
China has announced that it will provide debt relief to the developing world. President Xi Jinping made the announcement at the UN and anticipates the fund to help the developing world will eventually reach $15 billion. presently the fund is set at $2 billion and will have a positive effect on the poorer nations.
“Looking around the world, the peace and development remain the two major themes of the times,” the Chinese leader said at the summit in New York.
“To solve various global challenges, including the recent refugee crisis in Europe, the fundamental solutions lie in seeking peace and realising development.
“Facing with various challenges and difficulties, we must keep hold of the key of the development. Only the development can eliminate the causes of the conflicts,” Mr Xi said.
His pledges of aid give a big boost to the launch of the UN’s new Global Goals for Sustainable Development – the day after all members states committed themselves to a hugely ambitious programme, the BBC’s James Robbins in New York reports.
Happening alongside the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change is an event in Peru that is connecting locals with artists to make nature inspired work. While politicians at the UN are debating the future of our planet artists will be reframing the debate for others using art in rural Peru. The event will culminate in an exhibition from December 3, 2014 through January 9, 2015 at the Lima Musuem of Contemporary Art.
Over the course of ten days in October, HAWAPI 2014 will take a group of approximately 20 artists, researchers, organizers and local community members 13,000 feet above sea level to the Peruvian glacial mountain range, Pariacaca, where they will build an off-grid tented basecamp for sleeping, eating and working and relying on solar panels for electricity. Residents will be supported by indigenous llama herders who will act as camp staff, artist collaborators and assistants, and whose herd will serve as pack animals to help carry supplies to the residency location. Camping and working close to the glacier and leaving as little environmental impact as possible, the group of artists and locals will create a series of site-specific interventions, murals and performances to be left as a permanent installation. The hope is for these environmentally-inspired works to have the potential to encourage audiences to deepen their understanding and expand their perspective on issues related to climate change and their impact on the region and world at large.