Diverseedy: Why Diversity?

November 28, 2013 · Filed Under Diverseedy, EU Seed Legislation, Political, Seeds · Comment 

Click on image to enlarge

Why Diversity?

Click here for the factsheet

© 2013 This image and the accompanying factsheet are copyright Arche Noah Verein.  All rights reserved.  Reproduced here with permission.

Artwork by: Valerio Fravallo

Vienna Declaration 2013

November 27, 2013 · Filed Under Political, Seed Saving, Seeds · Comment 

For an updated signature list, please see the declaration home page.

Read the Vienna Declaration, currently signed by the following organizations, with more signatures expected to come:

AGROLINK Association (BUL)
Arche Noah Verein (A)
Bese Természetvédelmi Egyesület  | Bese Nature Conservation Society (HU)
Bifurcated Carrots (NL)
Campaign for Seed-Sovereignty (INT)  |   Kampagne für Saatgut-Souveränität
Dachverband Kulturpflanzen- und Nutztiervielfalt e.V. (INT)
Le Début des Haricots (B)
Eco Ruralis – in support of traditional and organic farming (RO)
Environmental Social Science Research Group (HU)
Fundacja Rolniczej Różnorodności Biologicznej AgriNatura (PL)
Föreningen Sesam (SV)
GAIA – Grupo de Acção e Intervenção Ambiental (PT)
Garden Organic (GB)
GLOBAL 2000 – Friends of the Earth Austria
InfOMG – GMO information centre in Romania (RO)
Longo mai (INT)
Maatiainen ry (SF)
Navdanya International (I)
Peliti (GR)
Plataforma Transgénicos Fora (Stop GMO Platform, PT)
Praktisk Økologi (DK)
Red Andaluza de Semillas „Cultivando Biodiversidad“ (E)
Red de Semillas „Resembrando e Intercambiando“ (E)
Rete Semi Rurali (I)
Réseau Semences Paysannes (F)
Seed Freedom Campaign (IND)
Slovensko bez GMO (SK)
Społeczny Instytut Ekologiczny (PL)
Stowarzyszenie dla dawnych odmian i ras (PL)
Utopia (SK)
Varuhi semen (SL)
Verein zur Erhaltung der Nutzpflanzenvielfalt e.V. (D)
ZMAG – Zelena mreza aktivistickih grupa (HR) | GNAG – Green network of activist groups

Zwarte Piet

November 19, 2013 · Filed Under Political · 2 Comments 

Zwarte Piets or Black Petes are a Christmas tradition in Holland.  It’s a tradition that dates back to the time of slavery, when most of the Netherlands population was white.  The basic idea is Santa Claus, who is white, has black helpers who do his bidding and give candy and presents to children.  The Zwarte Piet characters are almost always white people with face paint, bright red lips, earrings — sometimes nose rings, and wigs with black curly hair.

There are many excuses why this is not racist.  For example Piet is black from climbing down a chimney or whatever, or it’s just make believe and a long standing tradition.  Of course none of this explains why the red lips or short curly hair are necessary.  In previous years the Dutch have also shown a lot more tolerance towards traditions of other cultures, which made it a little easier to look the other way when it came to Zwarte Piet.  Now much of that tolerance isn’t so present any more, and the tradition of Zwarte Piet reflects much more current, underlying and structural problems within Dutch society.

Nowadays, about 20% of the country as a whole, and more than 50% in some urban areas are non-Dutch decent.  This tradition is becoming increasingly unacceptable to those people, together with some ethnic Dutch and many people from all over the world.  As incredible as it seems, major cities like Amsterdam still sanction and license events with this character, and it’s really time that stops.  It may be private parties continue in the years to come, but for a city to sanction public events, in public areas, is really a slap in the face to the non-Dutch people who live there.  I’ve posted before about some of the institutionally racist policies of the city of Amsterdam, which thankfully have been getting less common over time.  It’s time for the city to take the next big step.

The sketch/improve group Boom Chicago, based in Amsterdam, have done a nice parody:

Getting to know your MEPs

October 10, 2013 · Filed Under EU Seed Legislation, Political · 1 Comment 

The first debate on the proposed EU seed law was held in the EU Parliament on 30 September.  The Campaign for Seed Sovereignty  issued a press release.

For those of you living in Europe, it’s important to listen to your MEPs.  You can watch the debate here (nearly an hour of video, 220Mb). It’s really important to listen to the kinds of things your MEPs say, so in the elections at the end of this year, you know who to vote for.  The press release linked to above names the position of some MEPs.

In general, the European People’s Party (EPP — Christian Democrats), especially the Italian ones, seem to be throwing their weight behind this legislation on the side of the large seed companies.  I was really disgusted a few days ago, when the EPP supported the tobacco industry in an important piece of smoking related legislation.  Keep an eye on them!

Hacking Problems

September 26, 2013 · Filed Under General, Political · Comment 

Lots of hacking lately!

In recent years this blog has been infected with malware twice.  I’ve posted about this before.

There are nearly daily efforts to brute-force guess passwords, or exploit other known WordPress weaknesses.  Sometimes they succeed.  Honestly, many WordPress weaknesses seem intentional, and the people doing the hacking are anything but amateurs.  This is clearly something well organized, and with a lot of money and power behind it.  The goal seems to not necessarily directly bring down the blog, but rather to breach the security covertly, be in control of it, and able to ‘pull the plug’ any time they want.  This all seems eerily related to the Edward Snowden leaks, and the fact that all major superpowers are known to engage in Internet hacking.  Of course corporations are not free of guilt in this area either, and we all know I’ve pissed some of them off.  It all seems childish and undemocratic.

Anyway, if this blog suddenly disappears someday, this is probably why.

For the time being, the solution seems to be to turn on comment moderation, and limit some Internet address ranges.  This means if you happen to have an Internet address close to the hackers, and I’ve been over enthusiastic, I might have limited your IP address too by mistake.  I don’t think many people will have this kind of problem.  If however you get any error messages or have any trouble viewing any pages or posting comments, please get in touch so I can look into it.

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