UK Nigerians unite over heritage

A group of young Londoners who got together in 1998 to learn about their ancestry have grown into a major community organisation

GOOD MOVES: Members of the ICSN dance troupe

IT’S OFTEN claimed that young black Britons are losing touch with their cultural roots.

In fact, many debates have ensued among communities in recent years, sparked by troubling issues such as the involvement of black youths in gun and knife crime; that the language, cuisine and cultural values of Africans and Caribbeans who emigrated to Britain in the 50s and 60s are being lost.

However, one London based group is determined to change that.

Back in 1998, a group of Nigerians whose families originated from the Igbo people of south eastern Nigeria, decided they wanted to form a group that would celebrate their west African heritage.

Igbo people are one of the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria (together with the Hausa and Yoruba). Igbo-land is the home of the Igbo people and it covers most of south east Nigeria.

The Igbo Cultural and Support Network (ICSN) was born with only a handful of members.

But since its formation, the organisation has grown to an impressive 1,600 members and has organised a number of networking and social events that have been hailed as an example of what young African Caribbeans can do if they work in unison.

SUPPORT

And the ICSN has also garnered some high profile celebrity support. In October, Olympic 400 metres silver medallist Christine Ohurugu MBE and Game of Thrones actor Nonso Anozie, who had previously taken language classes run by the ICSN, joined 500 others as guests of honour at the group’s New Yam Festival, a harvest festival that has been celebrated for centuries and remains an important tradition. The abundance of yam was often important for survival in lean years and so its arrival is an occasion of great joy and thanksgiving to God for a good harvest.


STAR PERFORMER: Amale dancer in traditional Igbo costume performs a routine at the Iri-ji New Yam festival in London

“ICSN was established because there was a strong sense in the Diaspora that second generation Igbo people and those who had relocated did not know as much as they would have liked about their heritage,” says Amaka Edomobi, president of the ICSN.

“We wanted to create a channel which would help people maintain a cultural connection to Nigeria. We the current executive committee, and those before us, are passionate about our rich cultural heritage and are committed to enhancing cultural awareness amongst people of Igbo heritage. That is why we volunteer limitless hours of our spare time and resources to the organisation. We host a general meeting every second Sunday of each month which includes cultural presentations, debates, health awareness discussions, business networking, open mic sessions, book reviews and guest speakers,” adds Edomobi.

Among the things that the ICSN celebrates is the aspect of Igbo culture known as “Umunna wu ike” (community is strength).
VISION: ICSN President Amaka Edomobi

“Power and authority are bestowed on the community not on individuals,” explains Edomobi. “Traditionally the community, the Igbo believe, is made up of the living and dead ancestors and gods of the land. Greeting is also a very important aspect of Igbo culture. Everyone is expected to greet their elders first. There are greetings for different times and situations.”

Among the group’s major achievements are the establishment of an Igbo Language School in Holborn, central London, in 2010 and a dance school.

Many black Britons of Nigerian Igbo heritage whose parents and grandparents came to Britain in the 1960s were not taught the language because of fears that they wouldn’t be able to integrate into mainstream society.

“Inherent in everyone is the desire to know their mother tongue,” says Edomobi. “I founded the Igbo Language School with other past and present execs. Interest in the Igbo Language School has been so overwhelming. Since its creation, 165 students from all walks of life have progressed through the course where they learn core principles of the Igbo language, from basic grammar and vocabulary to the etymology of the Igbo words themselves.”

This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the ICSN, providing an opportunity to reflect and celebrate the milestones reached since 1998.

SCHEMES

“We want to participate in more charitable and community work, such as supporting schools in Nigeria, hosting business seminars and mentoring schemes for our members and maintaining and adding to our cultural enrichment programmes,” says the president of the ICSN. “We believe that ICSN’s emphasis on maintaining cultural heritage is important in multicultural British society, we our often told by our members that ICSN gives them a sense of belonging and purpose. When you come to the meeting as an individual you will leave as a part of a family which is key to out ethos.

ICSN provides a support system that can benefit the wider black community in the UK by providing a forum to learn, be celebrated and belong.”

Written by Vic Motune

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The Real Africa, Through the Lens of African Photographers By Mirren Gidda

Africa has long been irresistible to art photographers. The diversity of its 54 nations, its natural phenomena—even, say some photographers, the difference in light compared with Europe and the U.S.—have spawned vast bodies of work and helped inform the way many in the international community regard the continent. The problem is that these photographs have, until recently, been taken by non-African photographers. Through their lenses, we have seen the continent’s beauty and its rawness, the savannahs and the cities—but rarely have we seen this through the eyes of those who actually call Africa home.

The problem comes from a mix of access and interest. African photographers have been showcasing their work within the continent for years. One of the best-known photography festivals in Africa, the Bamako Encounters biennale in Mali, which has run since 1994, is aimed at promoting trends in contemporary African photography and video. The West, however, has been slow to take note. Of the 48 photographer-members represented by Magnum Photos—arguably the most famous and prestigious international photo agency—just one, South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky, lives in Africa.

“Photography is a $10 billion industry, and what part of that does Africa have?” asks Aida Muluneh, a photographer and founder of the Addis Foto Fest in Ethiopia, a biannual event since 2010. “The majority of photos of Africa come from [non-African] white photographers.” That lack of visibility is problematic for more than just monetary reasons. Since the majority of archived images of Africa were taken by non-African whites, many of the continent’s surviving historical documents show not the experience of Africans but the experience of colonizers and the native Africans they often subjugated.

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People fill vessels with fuel from an overturned tanker. African photographers are revealing previously hidden sides of the continent. George Osodi/Panos

But a shift is occurring in the international arts community, and combined with the increasing affordability of cameras and improvements in smartphone lenses, it has led a new generation of Africans to the photographic medium. Some are photojournalists, while others work largely in art photography, sharing their experiences and viewpoints with a global audience. New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently exhibiting 100 years of portrait photography from West Africa. The increased exposure has benefited emerging photographers, who are being scouted by international galleries and agents at a much higher rate than ever before.

“Many African photographers are using their work to explore identity, and often this identity is linked to the past,” says John Fleetwood, head of the South African photography school Market Photo Workshop. “Colonial photography prompted the world to become used to a certain image of Africa, and photographers from the continent are now trying to represent it in a different way.”

Sammy Baloji is one such artist. In 2014, he was made a graduate of Rolex’s mentoring program, which pairs young, gifted artists with more experienced ones for a year. Baloji, who splits his time between his hometown in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Belgium, exhibited at London’s Tate Modern in 2011 and at this past year’s Venice Biennale. Much of Baloji’s work focuses on the Congo and the ways he and his countrymen confront their colonial past.

It wasn’t until 1960 that the Congo, as it was formerly known, gained independence and an identity separate from its colonizer, Belgium, though peace was still slow coming. Shortly after its emancipation, coups and a bloody civil war hit the Congo. Ever since, the country has struggled to reconcile its identity before and after colonization—a confusion that comes through in Baloji’s work, which frequently features images of the country’s past superimposed on photographs from its present.

“Many people in the DRC think we have lost our culture—that is, our pre-colonization culture,” says Baloji. “The role of colonization was not just exploiting minerals but educating people in a Western way that erased what came before.”

In one of Baloji’s earlier exhibitions, 2006’s “Mémoire,” washed-out color photographs of the Congolese city of Lubumbashi are overlaid with black-and-white archival images of workers who toiled in the industrial city’s Belgian-owned mines. In one haunting image, two Congolese laborers, one chained by his neck, work in a ditch, watched over by two men. The ghostly, enslaved figures are the only clear markers on the landscape—modern buildings and what appear vaguely to be cellphone towers in the far background are so faded as to be almost unrecognizable.

George Osodi, a Nigerian artist and former photographer, earned international recognition for his photographs of his country—especially a series in which he exposed some of the injustices taking place in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. As oil companies flocked to the south of Nigeria, their activities began to slowly poison the environment and force many Nigerians into poverty. Though the Delta is one of the country’s most profitable regions, its people remain some of the most destitute in all of Africa. Osodi’s photographs, from six years of documenting the area, show slums, billowing clouds of black smoke and the flames of gas flares. In one of the most jarring photographs in the collection, a charred skull looks directly into the camera—the remains of a villager killed in 2003, when oil pouring from a compromised pipeline exploded. In another, from 2006, titled Water Drum, a young girl grips a plastic bucket by the rusting water container—an oil barrel stamped with the white logo of Exxon Mobil Corp. Osodi’s work is currently on display at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England.

But a shift is occurring in the international arts community, and combined with the increasing affordability of cameras and improvements in smartphone lenses, it has led a new generation of Africans to the photographic medium. Some are photojournalists, while others work largely in art photography, sharing their experiences and viewpoints with a global audience. New York’s famed Metropolitan Museum of Art is currently exhibiting 100 years of portrait photography from West Africa. The increased exposure has benefited emerging photographers, who are being scouted by international galleries and agents at a much higher rate than ever before.

“Many African photographers are using their work to explore identity, and often this identity is linked to the past,” says John Fleetwood, head of the South African photography school Market Photo Workshop. “Colonial photography prompted the world to become used to a certain image of Africa, and photographers from the continent are now trying to represent it in a different way.”

Sammy Baloji is one such artist. In 2014, he was made a graduate of Rolex’s mentoring program, which pairs young, gifted artists with more experienced ones for a year. Baloji, who splits his time between his hometown in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Belgium, exhibited at London’s Tate Modern in 2011 and at this past year’s Venice Biennale. Much of Baloji’s work focuses on the Congo and the ways he and his countrymen confront their colonial past.

It wasn’t until 1960 that the Congo, as it was formerly known, gained independence and an identity separate from its colonizer, Belgium, though peace was still slow coming. Shortly after its emancipation, coups and a bloody civil war hit the Congo. Ever since, the country has struggled to reconcile its identity before and after colonization—a confusion that comes through in Baloji’s work, which frequently features images of the country’s past superimposed on photographs from its present.

“Many people in the DRC think we have lost our culture—that is, our pre-colonization culture,” says Baloji. “The role of colonization was not just exploiting minerals but educating people in a Western way that erased what came before.”

In one of Baloji’s earlier exhibitions, 2006’s “Mémoire,” washed-out color photographs of the Congolese city of Lubumbashi are overlaid with black-and-white archival images of workers who toiled in the industrial city’s Belgian-owned mines. In one haunting image, two Congolese laborers, one chained by his neck, work in a ditch, watched over by two men. The ghostly, enslaved figures are the only clear markers on the landscape—modern buildings and what appear vaguely to be cellphone towers in the far background are so faded as to be almost unrecognizable.

George Osodi, a Nigerian artist and former photographer, earned international recognition for his photographs of his country—especially a series in which he exposed some of the injustices taking place in the oil-rich Niger Delta region. As oil companies flocked to the south of Nigeria, their activities began to slowly poison the environment and force many Nigerians into poverty. Though the Delta is one of the country’s most profitable regions, its people remain some of the most destitute in all of Africa. Osodi’s photographs, from six years of documenting the area, show slums, billowing clouds of black smoke and the flames of gas flares. In one of the most jarring photographs in the collection, a charred skull looks directly into the camera—the remains of a villager killed in 2003, when oil pouring from a compromised pipeline exploded. In another, from 2006, titled Water Drum, a young girl grips a plastic bucket by the rusting water container—an oil barrel stamped with the white logo of Exxon Mobil Corp. Osodi’s work is currently on display at the International Slavery Museum in Liverpool, England.

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A girl holds onto a jetty as a boy paddles a canoe on Lagos Lagoon in the Makoko district.George Osodi/Panos

Osodi says he entered the world of photography because “a lot of things, unjust things, were happening. There was mismanagement of the country, and this needed to be documented visually.” Just as Baloji is driven to make sense of his surroundings and find identity and a sense of self in them, Osodi says he “had a drive to photograph things that needed to be changed. I needed to photograph to make people aware—that was my driving passion.”

It’s a passion that could have real benefits for the international understanding of African identity. “Photography in Africa has grown dramatically in its popularity, because people want to understand the diversity of the world,” says Fleetwood. As more and more people across the continent gain access to photographic equipment and realize there is a demand for their images, African photography could become a common fixture on the global art scene.

Plastic In Oceans Will Outweigh Fish By 2050

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We know that the oceans are warming and becoming increasingly acidic as we continue to pump more and more CO2 into the atmosphere. But they also face another threat from mankind: plastic. Our modern lives are dominated by this ubiquitous material, from the packaging on the food we eat to the technology we use every day, there is no getting away from it. Our oceans are no exception, and if current trends continue, a new report has revealed that by 2050, plastic rubbish in the ocean will outweigh fish.

According to the new report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos this week, an astonishing 95 percent of plastic packaging is lost to the economy every year after single use, costing an estimated $80-120 billion (£56-84 billion). While only a paltry 5 percent is recycled effectively, around 40 percent is buried in landfill, and a third of all plastic produced each year finds its way into the world’s oceans. This is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck a minute into the marine environment.

Only a tiny fraction of the plastics produced every year is ever recycled back into the system, and even less is recycled effectively. Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Since 1964, plastic production has increased by a factor of 20, and currently stands at around 311 million tonnes (343 million tons) of the stuff a year. This figure is expected to double again within the next 20 years, and quadruple by 2050, as developing nations consume more plastic. The rubbish that currently finds its way into the oceans already has harmful impacts on the wildlife. From plastics found in the stomachs of seabirds, to the plastic bags eaten by turtles and seals, or the microplastic that we can’t even see being ingested by fish that we then consume.

But it is not just about the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans, it is also about the fossil fuels that are needed to create the stuff. Currently, the production of plastics uses around six percent of the global consumption of oil – by 2050 this could rise to 20 percent. The report calls for a complete rethink of the way we manufacture plastics, and then how we deal with the mountains of waste it produces.

The amount of plastic produced every year is set to increase dramatically within the next 30 years. Ellen MacArthur Foundation

“This report demonstrates the importance of triggering a revolution in the plastics industrial ecosystem and is a first step to showing how to transform the way plastics move through our economy,” explains Dominic Waughray of the World Economic Forum, the hosts of the annual talks in Davos, who jointly released the report along with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “To move from insight to large-scale action, it is clear that no one actor can work on this alone. The public, private sector, and civil society all need to mobilize to capture the opportunity of the new circular plastics economy.”

The solutions are not easy. The fact that the price of oil is now so low means that recycling old plastics is now vastly more expensive than producing new ones, and with the economies in the developing world growing bigger, so is the market for plastic. Part of the solution is to rethink how we use plastics, reducing their use in packaging for example, and reusing as much of it as we can. Manufacturers could aid in this by producing plastic items that can be reused, while also shifting to plastics that could be composted. Either way, any solution will take a major shift in the way all of us consume the ever-present product.

Climate change: Hollywood star attacks Oil & Gas industry at WEF

On Wednesday, US Hollywood actor, Leonardo DiCaprio, addressed a panel at the World Economic Forum (WEC), criticising the oil and gas industry of being consumed by greed, and having complete disregard for the real reality and impact of climate change.

Currently being hosted in Davos, Switzerland, the WEC has gathered heads of state, ministers and industry leaders from across the globe, where post COP21 discussions have resurfaced.

Accepting a crystal award for his persistent works in environmentalism, DiCaprio commented: “We simply cannot afford to allow the corporate greed of the coal, oil and gas industries to determine the future of humanity.

“Those entities with a financial interest in preserving this destructive system have denied, and even covered up the evidence of our changing climate.”

The three Golden Globe Awards winner, stressed: “Enough is enough. You know better. The world knows better. History will place the blame for this devastation squarely at their feet.”

He added: “Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong. Twenty years ago, we described this problem as an addiction. Today, we possess the means to end this reliance.”

Icons put impetus on clean energy

Following the theme of international icons influencing the energy sector, Senegalese-born US musician and co-founder of the Akon Lighting Africa initiative, Akon Thiam, presented his clean energy model to an audience at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) last week.

This project aims to bring solar powered electricity to 600 million Africans. The company’s efforts have to date been active in 14 countries on the continent.

In May last year, the project launched a solar academy aimed at giving African engineers and entrepreneurs the skills needed to develop solar power in Mali, West Africa.

The musician previously launched Akon Lighting Africa along with co-founders Thione Niang and Samba Baithily, aimed at bringing solar powered electricity to 600 million Africans. The company’s efforts have to date been active in 14 countries on the continent.

Mind the Gap:Richest one per cent ‘as rich as the poorest 57 per cent combined’

Wealth inequality has grown to the stage where 62 of the world’s richest people own as much as the poorest half of humanity combined.The research, conducted by the charity Oxfam, found that the wealth of the poorest half of the world’s population – 3.6 billion people – has fallen by 41 per cent, or a trillion US dollars, since 2010.

While this group has become poorer, the wealth of the richest 62 people on the planet has increased by more than half a trillion dollars to $1.76 trillion.

In 2011 388 people had the same wealth as the poorest half of humanity. In 2011 this fell to 177. The number has continued to fall each year to 80 in 2014 and 62 in 2015.

The research was released days ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s elite in Davos for the World Economic Forum 2016.

Oxfam GB chief executive Mark Goldring said a crackdown on global tax havens was a necessary step towards ending the rampant global inequality.

“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world population owns no more than a small group of the global super-rich – so few, you could fit them all on a single coach,” he said.

Infographic-Billionaires-WEalth.jpg

“World leaders’ concern about the escalating inequality crisis has so far not translated into concrete action to ensure that those at the bottom get their fair share of economic growth. In a world where one in nine people go to bed hungry every night we cannot afford to carry on giving the richest an ever bigger slice of the cake.

“We need to end the era of tax havens which has allowed rich individuals and multinational companies to avoid their responsibilities to society by hiding ever increasing amounts of money offshore.

“Tackling the veil of secrecy surrounding the UK’s network of tax havens would be a big step towards ending extreme inequality. Three years after he made his promise to make tax dodgers ‘wake up and smell the coffee’, it is time for David Cameron to deliver.”

Solar energy jobs double in five years

The number of solar jobs in the U.S. has more than doubled in five years. In fact, there are more people working in solar now than at oil rigs and in gas fields.

The solar industry added 35,000 jobs in 2015, up 20% from the previous year, according to the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington D.C.. The group is not funded by solar companies.

In contrast, oil and gas firms slashed nearly 17,000 extraction jobs in 2015 as energy prices continue to plummet. Oil prices are down a stunning 70% in the last 18 months and hovering just over $30 a barrel, a 12-year low.

There are about 209,000 solar energy employees in the U.S. They include solar panel installers, designers, engineers, sales folks and managers.

Today, the solar industry workforce is bigger than that of oil and gas construction, and nearly three times the size of the entire coal mining workforce.

“The companies we’re working with are begging to fill the [job] slots they have because they’re growing so much,” says Chris Gorrie, campus president of the Ecotech Institute, a for-profit job training center for solar and renewable energy in Aurora, Co.

Businesses Can Drive the Transition to a Sustainable Economy

With the historic climate change agreement endorsed by nearly 200 nations last month in Paris, which OdikaOdi attended as spectators,the focus on sustainability across the globe has never been stronger. We all should be encouraged by the willingness of world leaders to make commitments for action on climate change.

Even with this landmark accord, climate change isn’t something governments alone can address. As leaders from across society gather in Davos, Switzerland, next week for the World Economic Forum annual meeting, it’s essential that businesses also play a key role in creating a sustainable planet for generations to come.

Business leaders recognize this responsibility, as evidenced by the commitments President Obama has secured from 154 U.S. companies, most with global footprints, for the White House’s American Business Act on Climate Pledge. Within the business community, the financial services sector is in a unique position to help achieve climate change goals. By providing the necessary financial and intellectual capital, they can accelerate the transition to a low-carbon economy.

It is the mission of OdikaOdi to bring this new thinking to Africa via Nigeria. Africa needs to Change its thinking if it is to change its destiny.

Wind Poswer
Carbon Footprint A Wind Farm in the Gobi Desert

12 Quotes That Will Make You Question Everything About Our World

It’s 2016, and across the globe we are seeing indigenous elders from various locations on the planet coming forward to share wisdom that is so desperately needed. All of us who live on the planet are feeling the heat as we recognize that the time for change is now, and that this window of opportunity won’t be open forever.

Not long ago, Indigenous Elders and Medicine People of North and South America came together in South Dakota to deliver a fundamental message to humanity and the Earth:

We are part of Creation, thus, if we break the laws of Creation we destroy ourselves. We, the Original Caretakers of Mother Earth, have no choice but to follow and uphold the Original Instructions, which sustains the continuity of Life. We recognize our umbilical connection to Mother Earth and understand that she is the source of life, not a resource to be exploited. We speak on behalf of all Creation today, to communicate an urgent message that man has gone too far, placing us in the state of survival. We warned that one day you would not be able to control what you have created. That day is here. Not heeding warnings from both Nature and the People of the Earth keeps us on the path of self destruction. This self destructive path has led to the Fukushima nuclear crisis, Gulf oil spill, tar sands devastation, pipeline failures, impacts of carbon dioxide emissions and the destruction of ground water through hydraulic fracking, just to name a few. In addition, these activities and development continue to cause the deterioration and destruction of sacred places and sacred waters that are vital for Life. – Chief Looking Horse (source)

The world is in great need of this kind of wisdom. Our knowledge of and respect for the natural world have been greatly diminished over time, but the pendulum seems to be, slowly, shifting in the other direction now. Many people are starting to wake up, to pay attention to what is really happening on our planet, and to express their desire for change.

Luther Standing Bear

Luther Standing bear was an Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief who lived before and during the arrival of European pioneers, at a time when, arguably, the greatest genocide in human history was taking place. You can read more about that here. He was born as ‘Ota Kte’ in the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and was one of the first students to attend the Carlisle Indian School of Pennsylvania. After that, he toured with the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show, entered into the world of acting in California, and spent his life fighting to improve conditions for Indians on American reservations. He wrote several books about Indian life life and governmental policy.

  • Praise, flattery, exaggerated manners, and fine, high-sounding words were no part of Lakota politeness. Excessive manners were put down as insincere and the constant talker was considered rude and thoughtless. Conversation was never begun at once, nor in a hurried manner. No one was quick with a question, no matter how important, and no one was pressed for an answer. A pause of giving time for thought was the truly courteous way of beginning and conducting a conversation. (source)
  • Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle. For the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept the Lakota safe among them. And so close did some of the Lakota come to their feathered and furred friends that in true brotherhood they spoke a common tongue. (source)
  • The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to a lack of respect for humans, too. So he kept his children close to nature’s softening influence. (source)
  • We did not think of the great open plains, the beautiful rolling hills, and winding streams with tangles growth, as ‘wild.’ Only to the white man was nature a ‘wilderness’ and only to him was the land ‘infested’ with ‘wild animals’ and ‘savage’ people. To us it was tame. Earth was bountiful and we were surrounded with the blessings of the Great Mystery. Not until the hairy man from the east came and with brutal frenzy heaped injustices upon us and the families we loved was it ‘wild’ for us. When the very animals of the forest began fleeing from his approach, then it was for us that the ‘Wild West’ began. (source)
  • Silence was meaningful with the Lakota, and his granting a space of silence to the speech-maker and his own moment of silence before talking was done in the practice of true politeness and regardful of the rule that ‘thought comes before speech.’ Also in the midst of sorrow, sickness, death, or misfortune of any kind, and in the presence of the notable and great, silence was the mark of respect. More powerful than the words was silence with the Lakota and his strict observance of this tenet of good behavior was the reason, no doubt, for his being given another fallacious characterization by the white man – that of being a stoic. He has been adjudged dumb, stupid, indifferent, and unfeeling. As a matter of truth, he was the most sympathetic of men, but his emotions of depth and sincerity were tempered with control. Silence meant to the Lakota what it meant to Disraeli when he said, ‘Silence is the mother of truth,’ for the silent man was ever to be trusted, while the man ever ready with speech was never taken seriously. (source)
  • Children were taught the rules of woyuonihan and that true politeness was to be defined in actions rather than in words. They were never allowed to pass between the fire and an older person or a visitor, to speak while others were speaking, or to make fun of a crippled or disfigured one. If a child thoughtlessly tried to do so, a parent, in a quiet voice, immediately set him right. (source)
  • The concept of life and its relations was humanizing and gave to the Lakota an abiding love. It filled his being with the joy and mystery of living; it gave him reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all. (source)
  • The Lakota could despise no creature, for all were of one blood, made by the same hand, and filled with the essence of the Great Mystery. In spirit, the Lakota was humble and meek. ‘Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth,’ was true for the Lakota, and from the earth he inherited secrets long since forgotten. (source)
  • In talking to children, the old Lakota would place a hand on the ground and explain: ‘We sit in the lap of our Mother. From her we, and all other living things, come. We shall soon pass, but the place where we now rest will last forever. So we, too, learned to sit or lie on the ground and become conscious of life about us in its multitude of forms. Sometimes we boys would sit motionless and watch the swallow, the tiny ants, or perhaps some small animal at its work and ponder on its industry and ingenuity; or we lay on our backs and looked long at the sky and when the stars came out made shapes from the various groups. (source)
  • The contemplative and spiritual side of Lakota life was calm and dignified, undisrupted by religious quarrels and wars that turned man against man and even man against animal. Not until a European faith came was it taught that not life on earth but only life after death was to be glorified; and not until the native man forsook the faith of his forefathers did he learn of Satan and Hell. Furthermore, until that time he had no reason to think otherwise than that the directing and protecting guidance of the Great Mystery was as potent on this side of the world as on the other. (source)
  • The Lakota . . . loved the earth and all things of the earth, the attachment growing with age. The old people came literally to love the soil and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of being close to a mothering power. It was good for the skin to touch the earth and the old people liked to remove their moccasins and walk with bare feet on the sacred earth.
  • Everything was possessed of personality, only differing with us in form. Knowledge was inherent in all things. The world was a library and its books were the stones, leaves, grass, brooks, and the birds and animals that shared, alike with us, the storms and blessings of earth. We learned to do what only the student of nature ever learns, and that was to feel beauty. We never railed at the storms, the furious winds, and the biting frosts and snows. To do so intensified human futility, so whatever came we adjusted ourselves, by more effort and energy if necessary, but without complaint. Even the lightening did us no harm, for whenever it came too close, mothers and grandmothers in every tipi put cedar leaves on the coals and their magic kept danger away. Bright days and dark days were both expressions of the Great Mystery. (source)01ageold

What is the impact of sea pollution on marine Life #OKOEducate :Get the full picture

A comprehensive assessment of trash on marine wildlife:

There is a vast sea of trash in our oceans. For the first time, we now have a comprehensive picture of the toll it is taking on seabirds, sea turtles and marine mammals.

A new study in Marine Policy
by scientists at Ocean Conservancy and Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) mapped impacts ranging from entanglement, ingestion and chemical contamination of the 20 most commonly found ocean debris like fishing gear, balloons, plastic bottles and bags and a range of other plastic garbage found regularly in the ocean. Our research was based on elicitation, a widely-used technique to rigorously quantify the professional judgement of a community of experts, representing 19 fields of study.

The Results

  • Lost or abandoned fishing gear like nets, lines, traps and buoys pose the greatest overall threat to all types of marine wildlife, primarily through entanglement.
  • Consumer plastics were not far behind. Plastic bags emerged as the second most impactful item for marine wildlife. Plastic cutlery also was highly impactful. Experts highlighted the tendency of animals like sea turtles to mistake these items for food and eat them.
  • Paper bags and glass bottles were assessed to be the most benign marine debris.

Seeking Solutions

This study underscores the need to go beyond a product-by-product approach to reducing plastics impacts in the ocean. Consider the sheer volume of it &mdash upwards of 8 million tons each year flow into the ocean according to a report from earlier this year.

The biggest takeaway from our report is that our strategies must encompass regional improvement in waste management systems and global changes in policy as well as local actions like changing consumer behavior and eliminating particularly problematic products. And much like the findings from our study, no single entity alone can solve our ocean plastics problem. It requires collective action from individuals and NGOs, to governments and the private sector to stem the tide of plastics from entering the ocean in the first place.

What We’re Doing

For the past three decades, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup has documented the most persistent and proliferating forms of ocean trash on beaches and in waterways around the world. Without fail, the most common items encountered year after year are those disposable plastics we use in our everyday lives &mdash like plastic bags, beverage bottles and food wrappers.

We are working hard to solve this problem. We are a proud and active member of the Global Ghost Gear Initiative, an innovative approach to confronting the threat of derelict fishing gear on marine species.

And Ocean Conservancy is also leading a powerful alliance to unite industry, science and conservation leaders under a common goal for a healthy ocean free of trash. Members of the Trash Free Seas Alliance® are working together to confront plastic inputs from the regions that matter most while they seek to reduce and reinvent products and services that damage ocean wildlife or ecosystems.#01Sea