Voices of the Xingu: Antonia Melo

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Voices of the Xingu: Antonia Melo, Amazon WarriorVoices of the Xingu: Antonia Melo, Amazon Warrior“We won’t let our rivers in the Amazon be sacrificed!” – Antonia Melo

If you’re reading this it’s quite likely that you know by now that the Brazilian government is planning to build what would be the world’s third largest hydroelectric dam on one of the Amazon’s major tributaries, the Xingu River. The Belo Monte dam would divert the flow of the Xingu and devastate an extensive area of the Brazilian rainforest, displacing over 20,000 people and threatening the survival of indigenous peoples. For the past 25 years, Antonia Melo da Silva has been at the forefront of this battle fighting for justice, rights, rivers and the rainforest.

Watch the video and read the rest on Eye on the Amazon »

greenpeace Activists open Milan Fashion Week

Right now, a team of Greenpeace volunteers are hanging from the ceiling of Italy’s oldest and most magnificent shopping center in Milan to demand toxic-free fashion.  You can watch the action live, click here.

Happening today in Milan
These activists are opening Milan fashion week in style and sending a  clear message to luxury brands like Versace that are using  hazardous chemicals to make their clothes: Detox now!

They are taking action on behalf of children everywhere. Click here to join them and tell Versace to commit to toxic-free fashion now.

Let’s use fashion week to demand clothing we can believe in.

Moment of Truth


Arkansas Republicans May Take Away Health Insurance From 100,000 People

Republicans in Arkansas are actively considering a plan to take away health coverage from tens of thousands of low-income people who just obtained insurance thanks to Obamacare.

Conservative Republicans in the state legislature have gotten reticent about approving a funding bill extending a program that has already signed almost 100,000 up for insurance coverage and expects to eventually help as many as 250,000 in total. It’s now unclear if the program will actually move forward, and if it does, it will not do so unscathed.

A bit of background. It’s in every state’s best interest to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, not only for the health of its residents but also for the strength of its economy. Still, 19 Republican-controlled state governments have all decided to put politics before people and refuse to accept federal funding for the expansion of health insurance coverage to low-income working people, with six more dragging their feet.

A recent study found that approximately six million Americans will be stuck without any health coverage at all because of this partisan refusal to expand Medicaid.

Arkansas, a state with a Democratic governor and Republican state legislature, developed a compromise last year that was heralded as a potential path forward for many conservatives against expanding the government program. The state decided that it would take the federal funds designated in the law for expanding Medicaid and use them to help low-income residents buy insurance on the private exchange. Since then, almost 100,000 Arkansas residents have signed up for the program to get covered. Other states have followed suit with similar models.

But that has almost been undone as some Republican legislators refuse to vote for the appropriations bill that would extend financing to the program for another year.

Lawmakers are working to find a compromise to save a program that was already a compromise itself — but details so far indicate that it’s far from perfect. One legislator very clearly traded her vote to get funding for a pet interest. Another, Rep. Nate Bell (R), offered an amendment that extends the private option but explicitly bans the state from doing any outreach on it. Bell, in his own words: “We’re trying to create a barrier to enrollment.” Inspiring stuff, right there.

Hopefully the bill will end up going through and the 96,000 individuals already receiving insurance from the program won’t lose it again. As one Arkansas Mary Frances Perkins, who has already used it to start getting the proper treatment for her Parkinson’s, said, “It would just be a nightmare. I would feel like my government had absolutely turned their back on me.”

BOTTOM LINE: Arkansas needs to do the right thing and extend its private option for expanding health insurance to low-income residents. It would be a travesty if almost 100,000 individuals already benefiting from the program went back to being uninsured simply because of partisan politics. But even it does pass, it’s outrageous that the state’s Republicans are so explicit about their attempts to sabotage the law and undercut the compromise they themselves reached less than a year ago.

CNN said what?

Union of Concerned Scientists

This isn’t some politician supported by the oil industry. This isn’t even Fox News. This is a host on CNN questioning if climate change is real:1

CNN host asks if climate change is real. You know it is real. Help UCS do something about it.

The tweet above promoted a program with climate science mis-informer Marc Morano, who’s worked for Rush Limbaugh and Sen. Jim Inhofe, and encourages people to send nasty emails to harass climate scientists.2 (He says scientists “deserve to be publicly flogged.”3) And CNN gave him a platform.

Despite the fact that most of its coverage of climate science is accurate, CNN programs still feature misleading “debates” about scientific realities. UCS is crunching the numbers to show just how often cable news programs get the science wrong—whether it’s questioning the reality of climate change or overstating the relationship between climate change and extreme weather events. Now we need your help to make sure these influential networks get the science right.

It’s a small part of what we do, but it’s critical. And you make it happen. Will you become a 2014 member of UCS—and use science to defend our planet and help solve our most pressing problems, Carmen?

2014 UCS Membership Status: ***pending***

Not everyone understands the importance of science, but you do. When you give today, you help make sure that facts win out—from Washington to Washington, D.C.—so please, don’t delay. We’ve set an ambitious goal to have 6,000 people join UCS this month, and I hope you’ll be one.

Membership is a smart investment. Together we’ve won fuel economy standards to curb climate change pollution. We’ve secured whistleblower protections to help federal scientists. But there are more battles ahead. Your membership gift will help:

  • Expose and challenge attacks on climate science and scientists;
  • Advocate for science-based policies at the state and regional level to reduce global warming emissions;
  • Shut down the oldest and dirtiest coal power plants; and
  • Use science to impact farming practices, to promote healthy food, and to support the land and resources we all depend on.

Become a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists today.

There’s no other group like the Union of Concerned Scientists. We have a winning track record, using a mix of solid science, policy analysis, media outreach, and grassroots mobilization. It only works because of our committed member base. Thanks for being part of our community—I hope you’ll take the next step today.

Kathleen Rest Sincerely, Kathleen Rest Kathleen Rest, PhD, MPA Executive Director

1. https://twitter.com/donlemon/status/410603635924402176

2. http://www.esquire.com/features/marc-morano-0410-2

3. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=climate-cyber-bullying