sábado, abril 25, 2015

Todos contra Monsanto, 23 de mayo

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My Earth Day piece



April 22 2015


The massive event signaled a maturation and transformation in U.S. environmentalism and marked the birth of the modern environmental movement as we know it. Before Earth Day, the environment did not score high among the population's concerns. According to Earthday.org, "The height of hippie and flower-child culture in the United States, 1970 brought the death of Jimi Hendrix, the last Beatles album, and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water.’ Protest was the order of the day, but saving the planet was not the cause. War raged in Vietnam, and students nationwide increasingly opposed it. At the time, Americans were slurping leaded gas through massive V8 sedans. Industry belched out smoke and sludge with little fear of legal consequences or bad press. Air pollution was commonly accepted as the smell of prosperity. ‘Environment’ was a word that appeared more often in spelling bees than on the evening news." 

However, in the 1960s an environmental awareness was already slowly developing. 1962 saw the publication of Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” a book which opened the eyes of millions of readers to the dangers of agricultural pesticides to human health and wildlife. The chemical industry launched a mean-spirited campaign to discredit Carson and her book, but by the time of her death in 1964 she had been broadly vindicated and “Silent Spring” went on to become one of the most important environmentalist texts of all time. Her research and activism inspired and galvanized many of the scholars and activists that would organize the 1970 Earth Day.


The 1970 Earth Day festivities took place right in the middle of a very exciting and energetic period in the development of environmentalism. These years saw the first pioneering efforts to use the law to protect the environment. Inspired by the example of the ACLU and the NAACP, environmentally minded lawyers formed organizations that relied on the law and technical expertise, like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Defense Fund. Scientist and environmental activist Barry Commoner made the cover of Time magazine in February 1970, the publication naming him "the Paul Revere of Ecology." The prestigious and influential Sierra Club was transformed from an elite hiking club into an iron-jawed activist organization not afraid to lock horns with the government and polluting corporations, thanks to the able leadership of the forward-thinking executive director David Brower. Social critic Murray Bookchin combined cutting edge ecological concepts with anti-capitalist militancy and anarchism to create a new philosophy called social ecology. Ecologists Herman Daly, Kenneth Boulding, Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen and Howard T. Odum were all publishing their most important works in those years.


But some voices on the left saw the whole Earth Day affair with skepticism. "It turns out that the original Earth Day on April 22, 1970, was initially a staged event," says Tokar, a professor at the Institute for Social Ecology. "Politicians like Senator Gaylord Nelson and Representative Pete McCloskey took the lead in crafting the first Earth Day celebration that unexpectedly brought millions of people out around the country. The events, however, were supported by establishment institutions like the Conservation Foundation, a corporate think-tank founded by Laurance Rockefeller in 1948. Nixon even began the year with a presidential proclamation saying that the 1970s would be the ‘environmental decade.'”


Earth Day 1990 included an activist direct action to shut down Wall Street, a precursor and foreshadow of the Occupy Wall Street movement that would appear on the political scene two decades later. In 1990, the environmental movement was much more socially and politically mature than 20 years earlier. According to Tokar, "The 1990 Earth Day Wall Street Action reflected the flowering of grassroots environmental activity that had emerged throughout the 1980s, partly in response to the compromises of the big environmental groups. The popular response to toxic chemical pollution — launched by the mothers of sick children living near the severely polluted LoveCanal in New York — grew into a nationwide environmental justice movement that exposed the disproportionate exposure of communities of color to toxic hazards. Earth First! grew as a decentralized network of grassroots forest defenders, using theatrical direct action, combined with acts of industrial sabotage to stem the tide of forest destruction. Others joined in solidarity with indigenous peoples’ movements around the world that had arisen in defense of traditional lands, responding to the new onslaught of neoliberal development policies. During the lead-up to Earth Day 1990, a hundred environmental justice activists signed a letter to the eight largest national environmental organizations criticizing the dearth of people of color on those groups’ staffs and boards, along with their increasing reliance on corporate funding."

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viernes, abril 24, 2015

1ro de mayo


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My mini-reportaje on Albizu Campus for Telesur

jueves, abril 23, 2015

Rising Currents


Rising Currents: Looking Back and Next Steps
The Rising Currents exhibition at MoMA closed on October 11, and as we have worked on the de-installation of the show in the intervening weeks, I have had a chance to reflect on the exhibition and the project as a whole. As I’ve noted here previously, the workshop and exhibition were precedent-setting in many ways—for myself as a curator, for MoMA as an institution, and, in some ways, for the New York architecture and landscape design community.
Unlike many exhibitions where the show itself is the end destination and ultimate distillation of researched concepts, the Rising Currents exhibition was always intended to be the “second act” in a three-part production, as it were. We wanted the exhibition to jump-start a dialogue on the urgency of climate change and rising sea levels among public officials, policy-makers, and the general public. Possible “third acts” could be to have some of the solutions proposed by the architects in the exhibition actually implemented, or to replicate theRising Currents workshop and exhibition model in other locales that face similar challenges with sea level rise. In my recent article, “The Activist Exhibition: In the Wake of Rising Currents,” published in Log 20 (a print journal for writing and criticism on architecture), I expand further on how Rising Currents embodies the theme of Log 20: “curating as advocacy.”
It has been interesting to note that even though the exhibition is over, I continue to get research inquiries and requests for speaking engagements on the show from a wide range of people and organizations both here in the U.S. and abroad. I am actually delivering a talk next month on the exhibition at The Laboratory for Research and Innovation in Architecture, Design, Urban Planning and Advanced Tourism in Tenerife, one of the islands in the seven Canary Islands, Spain. The diversity of these requests and the continued interest in the topic indicates to me that the exhibition was successful in catalyzing debate, raising the awareness of the issues of climate change and rising sea levels, and, perhaps most importantly, elevating the role of design in tackling issues of climate change.
We held a closing panel discussion here at MoMA one week before the exhibition ended. The presentations and discussion focused on reactions to the exhibition and possible next steps. We recorded the discussion and wanted to share it here for those that couldn’t attend the event.

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My analysis of the CIA´s fiasco in the Bay of Pigs


Bay of Pigs, the CIA's Biggest Fiasco, 54 years later

Carmelo Ruiz

"Between April 17 and 19 of 1961, a force of Cuban mercenaries, led by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency tried to invade the Caribbean nation of Cuba. Within three days the attempt failed disastrously, with over 100 invaders dead and over 1,000 captured. Fifty-four years later, this historical event remains a sore point in hawkish cold war narratives. Cold warriors and right-wing hardliners in the U.S. still see it as an affront and humiliation, which demands retribution and redress. However, for progressives and anti-imperialists all over the world, the mention of the “Bay of Pigs” — know in the Spanish-speaking world as Playa Giron — evokes joy and celebration: The United States, an empire accustomed to imposing itself even in the farthest corners of the world, could not prevail and enforce its will on an island country 90 miles away from its shores. The empire could be defeated after all."

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martes, abril 21, 2015

Carlos Muñiz Varela, 36 años después de su asesinato

lunes, abril 20, 2015

A caminar por Oscar

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El Gran Juego de Ajedrez Botánico, nuevo libro de Carmelo Ruiz Marrero

domingo, abril 19, 2015

Los defensores de los transgénicos, ¿Juegan limpio?


Por Carmelo Ruiz Marrero
10 de abril 2015

Los defensores de los transgénicos ridiculizan y le arrojan abuso verbal no solamente a quienes cuestionan si la tecnología es segura, sino también a quienes plantean la realidad de que no existe consenso científico en el asunto. ¿Por qué? Considerando el historial de manipulación corporativa de la opinión pública mediante expertos "independientes" quienes incidentalmente son financiados por las mismas industrias que defienden, no es injusto preguntar si algunas personas en el debate de los transgénicos están recibiendo paga. No es una preocupación irrazonable.


viernes, abril 17, 2015

Carmelo Ruiz: Are the GMO advocates playing fair?


How independent are the “independent” experts that advocate for GM foods? Are they being secretly paid like some climate change “skeptics”? The activist group U.S. Right To Know (USRTK), decided to find out. On February 2015 USRTK filed a FOIA request for the e-mails and correspondence of public university professors that write for GMO Answers, a pro-GM advocacy web site set up by the Ketchum public relations agency. “We taxpayers deserve to know the details about when our taxpayer-paid employees front for private corporations and their slick PR firms,” said Gary Ruskin, the organization´s executive director.

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