Wednesday, October 13, 2010

10-13-10 Perfect Storm


A major meeting, titled "The Perfect Storm: Environmental Crisis plus Endless Wars and Global Poverty," will take place Wednesday Oct. 27 in New Paltz at the Coykendall Science building auditorium on the SUNY campus.

Speaking at this free public meeting will be four SUNY professors, two students and four Mid-Hudson community activists. The will largely discuss climate change, but war and poverty will also be noted in two talks since together with the environmental crisis they "combine to create the perfect storm of impending global devastation," according to the organizers.

The 7-9:15 p.m. event is sponsored by the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter and the local group Peace and Social Progress Now (PSPN). The SUNY sponsor is the campus-community organization Environmental Task Force. Almost a dozen local groups are endorsing the meeting, including SUNY's Progressive Academic Network, New Paltz Students for Sustainable Agriculture, and Students for Fresh Water among others.

The speakers include Sociology Professors Brian Obach and Irwin Sperber, Education Professor  Kate McCoy, Geography Professor Salvatore Engel-DiMauro, and student activists Claire Papell and Nick DePalma.

The community activist speakers include Donna Goodman, a co-chair of PSPN who is also an elected statewide delegate from the New Paltz chapter of United University Professions; Ariana Basco, a recent SUNY graduate, member of the New Paltz town Police Commission, and a local environmental organizer; Ann Guenther an anti-fracking campaigner with Climate Action Coalition; and Jack A. Smith, editor of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter and Calendar and the other co-chair of PSPN.

"The purpose of the meeting is two-fold," say the organizers, "First is to alert New Paltz students and regional residents to the extreme danger of climate change and environmental degradation, especially during an era of seemingly endless wars and growing global poverty. Second, we hope to encourage more people to take action against this developing Perfect Storm."

Volunteers will distribute the following statement promoting the meeting on campus and in surrounding villages and towns:

"Global warming will disfigure our world unless decisive emergency measures are taken now. The United States and other industrialized countries must substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, among other tasks, within a couple of decades. The longer it takes, the more devastating the destruction.

"Earth's entire ecological system is in crisis. But the principal countries with the power to prevent disaster are either not acting swiftly, or not at all. Water and food supplies are endangered. Glaciers are melting, as are the Arctic and Antarctic ice packs. Temperatures are rising. Coastal areas are in danger of flooding.

"Coinciding with this unfolding tragedy are the long wars being conducted by our own country, and Pentagon plans for more wars in future. America is spending a trillion dollars a year on the military and national security — funds needed to help develop a green economy and to end increasing global poverty. By 2050, 70% of world population will live in urban or rural slums. A billion people suffer chronic hunger now. And 15 million children starve to death each year, one every six seconds.

"Taken together this amounts to a perfect storm of impending global devastation. Learn about this crisis from experts and activists Oct. 27. Learn about what we can do as concerned people to stop this madness — for ourselves and future generations. There's still time, but we must act now to help save our environment and life on Mother Earth."

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Information and directions, (845) 255-5779,