Top Story: In the second part of a six-part series on the geopolitical ramifications of global warming in the Arctic, NPR’s Morning Edition focuses on Russia’s aggressive push to claim waterways and resources becoming available as the Arctic ice melts. One group that is particularly concerned over the rush to claim the Arctic is the indigenous Saami people, a group native to the Kola Peninsula of Russia. NPR interviews traditional singer Nadezhda Lyashenko, who discusses the environmental consequences of this rush to exploit one of the few remaining untouched regions on our planet.
The indigenous people of this region bore much of the brunt. The Saami tribe, for one, has lived centuries in Russia’s northwest, near the Norwegian border. Saami people were forcibly collectivized on farms under Stalin. Nadezhda Lyashenko, the Saami woman singing traditional tribal music here, can recount the horror stories. Her grandfather, a reindeer shepherd, was shot in 1937, accused of being a spy after he crossed into Finland chasing a reindeer herd. After decades of relative peace, Lyashenko says, trouble seems to be returning to her native Arctic lands. She sees Russia and other world powers in a race for oil and gas, ignoring the potential impact to a part of the Earth that’s been rarely touched. “The Arctic is just so fragile,” she says. “This time, it’s a research boat going out there. It’s like the prick of a needle, and the land will heal. But if they go with knives, with spears, they could break everything. And then what?”
The Saami and other indigenous peoples living in or near the Arctic, on the front lines of global climate change, could have much to teach us, if we are willing to listen. Sadly, the rights and concerns of the Saami are often ignored, or greeted with hostility by those who want economic development at any cost. For those who identify with the indigenous peoples and culture of Europe, the plight and position of the Saami should be of great concern. The trend of indigenous rights being undermined needs to be halted and reversed.
In Other News:
- Newsweek/The Daily Beast journalist Michelle Goldberg, author of “Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism”, explores Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and their ties to Dominionism. What’s crucial here is that Goldberg points out the theological differences between the Perry and Bachmann camps/supporters, and how Dominionist political ideas are pervasive through each. Andrew Sullivan says the “Christianists” have finally succeeded in taking over the Republican party.
- Salem Patch reports on a brawl between two shop-owners, Laurie Stathopoulos of Crow Haven Corner and Joanna Thomas of New England Magic. The fight ended when Thomas’ boyfriend broke the two up and maced Stathopoulos. Each camp blames the other for instigating the fight, both are being charged. Stathopoulos last made the news during the Charlie Sheen “warlock” affair.
- Contrary to popular belief evangelical Christians aren’t some hated and persecuted minority. That isn’t my opinion, that’s the opinion of Christianity Today, one that’s backed up by statistics and survey data. Quote: “If American evangelicals do have an image problem, it’s not our neighbors’ image of us; it’s our image of them. The 2007 Pew Forum study found that American Christians hold more negative views of “atheists” than non-Christians do of evangelical Christians.” Hat-tip to Slacktivist.
- The Hindu American Foundation has issued a report on Hinduism’s response to caste-based discrimination: Hinduism: Not Cast in Caste – Seeking an End to Caste-based Discrimination. In the ten-point summary of the report, HAF notes that the “key message of this report is that caste-based discrimination is not intrinsic to Hinduism, and that the solution lies within the eternal teachings of Hinduism.” Padma Kuppa, a member of the Hindu American Foundation’s Executive Council and the newly formed Hindu American Seva Charities, finds hope in the report.
That’s all I have for now, have a great day!