Xing Yi with Sifu James McNeil

Religious diversity and instability

Love one another…

          The Middle East and North Africa are known for their hot summers and vast deserts. Life is difficult in this region and survival can be a struggle. The Middle East is known today as a war zone by most in America. Most people are aware of the fighting and the war and associate the Middle East with religious extremists and violence. However, the Middle East and North Africa are both home to some of the oldest civilizations on the planet and some of the most profound archeological mysteries on earth. There is great desolation and suffering in this region and there is great beauty as well.

            Life for the average person in this area of the world can be difficult. Jobs can be difficult to find sometimes and resources are limited. Globalization has changed this area of the world profoundly over the last few decades. Technology has linked this area to other cultures and the thoughts and ideas of these cultures have not been accepted by many who wish to preserve their idea of how society should function.

            The Middle East is home to the three major monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. All three share the common theme of worshipping “God” and living in a manner that is pleasing to God. In America, we generally refer to the Creator of the universe and all existence as “God.” We use the word God because that is the most common English word that refers to the Creator of life. However, the Hebrew testament refers to the Creator and Sustainer of all life as “Ha Shem”( השם) or “Yah.” It is common for people to refer to the Divine as the “the One and Only.” Muslims usually refer to God as “Allah”( الله), as do some Christian Arabs, while most from the Jewish community refer to God as “Yahweh”(יהוה).

            While linguistics differ, all three religions all believe in the One and Only Divine. All three religions worship the same God. All three religions believe in heaven and hell, angels and devils, virtue over vice, love over hate, righteousness over iniquity, and similar core values. All three religions acknowledge the creation of Adam and Eve. All three religions acknowledge the adversary that is against all human beings ( Satan הַשָּׂטָןIblisإبليس‎). All three religions acknowledge the lives of Noah, Abraham, Ishmael, Issac, Jacob and his twelve sons, Moses, Aaron, Elijah, John the Baptist, Jesus, and Muhammad. All three religions believe in regular prayer and charity. All three religions have scriptures that are considered sacred. The scriptures outline how one is suppose to conduct life accordingly. All the scriptures contain commandments from the Divine.

            Even though all three religions have so much in common, they are in many cases, bitterly divided. Tensions and bad thoughts and intentions continue to fuel the fire of conflict between neighbors. Many Jews argue that Jesus was not the Messiah, a good guy, but nothing more than that. Many people consider some practitioners of Christianity to be polytheists because they pray to Jesus and believe he is Divine. Many people do not accept Muhammad as a legitimate prophet and conflict ensues as a result. They argue over water, resources, and land. They argue over religious philosophies and ideologies. All such arguments keep anger alive and cultivate hatred and tension. Fighting is the norm in this area. People die everyday in horrible ways.

            While it seems as if religion has divided the people and only made matters worse, it is really the people claiming to follow them have created the instability. The core teaching that the prophets brought was for people to acknowledge the Divine as the One and Only Commander of all, and to live in a manner that is respectful the earth and the people. This simplistic teaching however, obviously wasn’t absorbed by too many people. Hate, wrath, anger, envy, greed, lust, and all other selfish delusions of the mind and soul continue to plague the people and the war continues to destroy.

            The modern world does not hold fast to ancient thought and wisdom. People live in a manner that does not always contribute to the greater good. Many people live lives of excess and waste valuable resources and consume without thought about what they are consuming. Many people do not consider the consequences of their actions. While being in a state of selfish delusion, many people only care about themselves and how much they can exploit the world for their own gain.

            Traditionalists and fundamentalists reject most of the ideology associated with modern culture. They wish to hold on to traditional values and beliefs and they wish to maintain a state in which such beliefs can be practiced without outside influence. However, as time goes on, such thoughts and ideologies become a part of the lives of the people, especially the youth. Most trends, “new” styles, entertainment, and ideas, come fromAmerica. “Western” culture is impacting the Middle East more and more rapidly. The youth who grow up watching television and surfing the internet are growing and developing in a manner that reflects global entertainment and associated trends. The old way of life is dissipating for many and this creates conflict.

            Solutions are needed. Most importantly, the people of this region need to learn how to get along and stop all the fighting. If people would simply learn to coexist and share, peace could be established. Instead, this religion believes that they’re the only one that is right and that religion believes it is the only one that is right. Like children who argue and fight, the people of this region argue and fight. Some argue and fight on legitimate grounds, but most argue and fight when instead they should be seeking to find ways to create harmony and peace with their neighbor. All the people of the earth need to learn to get along and live together. Let everyone be free to practice their beliefs regardless of whether or not everyone agrees on the same spiritual philosophies or religious ideologies. As long as people are not harming others, then there is no reason why the conflict needs to continue…

The Origins of Baguazhang Nei Kung and Dragon Gate Taoism: Zhan Zhuang and Advanced Tree Qi-Exchange Ping Heng Kung Meditation

The purpose of this work is to relay advanced meditative teachings of the Nei Jia, Internal System of Martial Arts known as Baguazhang, also translated as Pa Kua Chang. It is well known that Bagua walking and palms are traditionally practiced by circling trees. Many who practice this art in the West, however, or even some beginners in the East, often shrug off claims of old masters regarding the essentiality of various Nei Kung practices with trees. To those who have not done considerable work with such Nei Kung, claims about its effectiveness and centrality to Qi-development in Bagua are often assumed to be exaggerations. Some doubt the claims related to these practices, while others suspect their “exaggerated” results come from the circle walking itself and the tree is more or less irrelevant. In many cases, the beginner often rejects the practice, in that they either do not engage it in at all (focusing instead only on walking and form work), or they underemphasize both standing “Zhan Zhuang” Meditation and Tree Qi-Exchange Meditation. This text will explain the Taoist origins of this “Dragon Gate” (Lung Men) Meditation, and will detail how to practice both Zhan Zhang, as well as Tree Qi Exchange Meditation, and how the two relate.

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The only reality
THAT which gives life to all
The power that sustains all existence
The commander that commands us to be alive
By the commander’s authority and in it’s presence we submit
We are alive and that is that
We do not struggle against this reality
We are required to breathe in order to sustain the life of the body
We do not struggle against the reality that we need to breathe air
We are in submission
The power that gives life to all is the only reality
The only reality

THAT which sustains all life is mighty and powerful
It commands the planets and stars
It is beyond what is written
We acknowledge the fact that we are alive and on a planet that is flying
We do not know where the universe is located exactly
We do acknowledge the clear and plain reality that it is here
Thus we bear witness to the life that we know
THAT which brought all life into existence commands the universe and all existence
We bear witness to the might and power
We see the burning stars and the flowing waters
THAT which commands reality is beyond all thought

The English language is a means of expression
Many refer to the power that gives life as the Divine
Many languages, many names
The true commander of all is beyond all names
In its presence we breathe the air that is given
In its presence we are alive and living
In its presence we read…
We never leave its presence
It is beyond matter and energy
It is beyond all visible and invisible
It is mighty and it is alive
It breathes life into us
It makes our hearts beat
We are alive
It is alive
Mighty and powerful

the destruction of deforestation

Latin America is home to some of the most incredible diversity of plant and animal life in the world. Scientists throughout the region work to understand the complex ecosystems, discern new species, conserve genetic resources, and interpret the impact of human settlement, especially in neotropical forests. Due to human settlement, forests are cut and burned to create settlements, cattle ranches, and other needs. In the last 40 years, around 20% of the Brazilian Amazon has been deforested. In states such as Rondonia, over 60% of the state has been deforested. Since the year 2000, nearly 8,000 square miles of rainforest has been destroyed every year. Clearly, if this continues at the rate it is going at now, there will be little forest left in the near future!

A NY Times article states that Brazil and other countries, are giving communities legal protections over the forest in order to keep out loggers, ranchers, and others seeking to destroy the forest. This is a good step and the local residents are happy that they can at least preserve their local homes (in some cases), but greater steps need to be taken still. Wealthy ranchers seek to weaken land rights in Brazil. So many people with money and ‘power’, driven by greed, are working hard to undermine the efforts of conservationists. The biggest challenge is to find a balance between the economic benefits of extraction with the ecological soundness of conservation.

pollution-related cancer…

Air pollution continues to plague the world and threatens us in many areas of life. In the text Diversity and Globalization, it states that in 2009, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (E.P.A.) issued a report identifying almost 600 urban American neighborhoods in which elevated cancer rates were associated with air pollution. It states that Los Angeles may have a pollution-related cancer rate around 500 times higher than rural American areas. This is ridiculous!! Steps must be taken in order to preserve the health of the world and its people, now, and for the generations to come.
In an L.A Times article, the Obama Administration announced that BP North America Inc, has agreed to pay a $8-million fine and install more than $400 million in equipment to cut air pollution from an oil refinery as part of a settlement over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act. Most people are driven by profits and material gain without concern for consequences of their actions. The results of the oil business result in such great amounts of pollution. Necessary steps must be taken to preserve the environment. Environmental Protection Agency and the Justice Department said in a statement that the pollution reduction plan, when fully implemented, “is expected to reduce harmful air pollution that can cause respiratory problems such as asthma.” These are definitely steps in the right direction. The more our awareness is increased regarding these issues, the more we can help to improve the earth!,0,5179489.story

thousands of people starving and dying Human Rights Watch

Sudan: Crisis Conditions in Southern Kordofan

Nuba Civilians Suffer Indiscriminate Bombing, Severe Hunger

May 4, 2012

© 2012 Human Rights Watch

Civilians in Southern Kordofan have endured 11 months of terror. Children have been maimed, women have been raped, and many people have no idea whether family members detained by Sudanese government forces are dead or alive.

Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director

(Juba) – The Sudanese government forces are conducting indiscriminate bombings and abuses against civilians in the Nuba Mountains area of Southern Kordofan, Human Rights Watch said today. Such attacks may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, and are creating a humanitarian crisis, exacerbated by the government’s denial of access to humanitarian agencies outside government-controlled towns, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch researchers went to the region in mid-April 2012 and interviewed victims and witnesses in three areas. They consistently described almost-daily aerial bombardment by government forces, the destruction of grain and water sources that are critical to their survival, arbitrary detentions, and sexual violence against women.

“Civilians in Southern Kordofan have endured 11 months of terror,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch, who took part in the research mission to the area in mid-April. “Children have been maimed, women have been raped, and many people have no idea whether family members detained by Sudanese government forces are dead or alive.”

Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army-North (SPLA-N) are locked in an armed conflict in Southern Kordofan state and neighboring Blue Nile state, both of which lie north of the border with South Sudan, which gained independence in July 2011. Communities in both states were aligned with the southern rebels during Sudan’s 22-year civil war.

The Sudanese government forces’ actions are serious violations of international humanitarian law, Human Rights Watch said. The government should immediately halt indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas, rein in abusive forces, and release civilians captured and now arbitrarily detained by its forces.

On May 2, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution condemning recent cross-border violence between Sudan and South Sudan, but failed to condemn Sudan’s indiscriminate bombing inside its own territory in areas such as Southern Kordofan. The UN Security Council and the African Union should unequivocally condemn these attacks, insist that Khartoum free all civilians unlawfully detained and facilitate access for aid agencies, Human Rights Watch said.

The civilian deaths and injuries from aerial bombing investigated by Human Rights Watch occurred mostly in civilian areas, where witnesses indicated that there was no apparent military target or presence of rebel fighters at the time the attacks occurred.
In recent weeks, fighting between Sudanese and South Sudanese forces in the oil-producing area of Heglig has overshadowed the ongoing crisis in Southern Kordofan, where conflict between the Sudanese government and remnants of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army first erupted in June 2011, and in Blue Nile, where the conflict spread in September 2011. Human Rights Watch also visited Blue Nile State in April.

Human Rights Watch’s most recent research in Southern Kordofan builds on research in the region in August 2011. The April visits were to El Buram, Um Durein, and Heiban, three localities where the government bombing and humanitarian needs are severe. Human Rights Watch visited some areas that were particularly hard hit by fighting in December and February such as the towns of El Taice and Troji, where government soldiers destroyed boreholes and other sources of water and destroyed grain supplies as they withdrew.

Human Rights Watch found that Sudan’s bombing campaign across the Nuba Mountains has killed and injured scores of civilians over the past 11 months. In one such attack, a bomb from an Antonov plane hit Halima Kafi’s home in El Taice, in El Buram, in March. Her brother was inside. “The bomb fell on the house, and we couldn’t find a single piece of my brother,” she said. Her 9-year-old daughter, Asia, also died immediately. Her 8-year-old son Khamis lost an arm; and 14-year-old Nafisa had shrapnel wounds all over her body.

Thousands of Nuba civilians are hiding from bombs, shelling, and missiles in mountain caves, afraid to return home. Many displaced people interviewed by Human Rights Watch said their homes had been destroyed by the bombing and fighting, and they had lost all of their belongings, including cattle and other livestock looted by government soldiers. The fear of being hit by aerial bombardment prevents civilians from going about their normal lives, including preparing fields for cultivation.

The loss of last year’s harvest, coupled with the Sudanese government’s refusal to allow humanitarian assistance into the Nuba Mountains, has created severe food shortages and prompted many civilians to flee the area.

More than 350,000 people are estimated to be internally displaced within Southern Kordofan, according to Sudanese civil society and humanitarian groups. At least 25,000 have fled to refugee settlements in South Sudan. According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR), an average of over 200 refugees arrived in the Yida refugee camp daily during April, and there has been a marked increase in cases of malnutrition among recent refugee arrivals.

The Sudan government has permitted UN staff to go to Kadugli, in Southern Kordofan, and Damazin and Roseiris in Blue Nile, but has blocked humanitarian aid to the most severely affected areas and rebel-held areas in both states since the conflict began.

The laws of war require all parties to the conflict, including the Sudanese authorities, to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of impartial humanitarian assistance for civilians in need. Although the Sudanese authorities have a right to control the delivery of aid, they may not arbitrarily deny access to humanitarian agencies and must allow access to humanitarian organizations that provide relief on an impartial and non-discriminatory basis if the survival of the population is threatened.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly called on the United Nations and African Union to demand an end to indiscriminate bombing in civilian areas and humanitarian access to populations in need in both Southern Kordofan and neighboring Blue Nile State, and to authorize an independent investigation into serious crimes against civilians in both states.

Khartoum’s indiscriminate bombing campaign, destruction of water resources and grain supplies, and steadfast denial of access for humanitarian assistance appears designed to starve civilians in the Nuba Mountains,” Lefkow said. “The suspected presence of rebels in the region in no way justifies brutally killing and starving its people, and destroying their homes and livelihoods.”

Details of attacks on civilians and on their means to survival, arbitrary detentions, and other abuses follow.

Indiscriminate Bombardment
Since early June 2011, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) has continuously carried out indiscriminate airstrikes on civilian areas in the Nuba Mountains, killing scores of civilians and wounding many more, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch investigated airstrikes in El Buram, Um Durein, and Heiban localities. Witness accounts and physical evidence seen by Human Rights Watch, including bomb fragments, unexploded ordnance, and craters, indicate that the government forces have dropped bombs from Antonov planes, fired missiles from fighter jets, shelled, and launched rockets into civilian areas.

People have been killed or wounded in their own homes, while trying to keep safe in mountain caves, and while grazing cattle. All civilians interviewed by Human Rights Watch said they had a friend, neighbor, or family member who had died as a result of bombing, or had been injured themselves. Medical staff at a hospital near Kauda told Human Rights Watch that almost all of the close to 100 people they have treated for injuries from bombings over the past 11 months have been civilians.

Human Rights Watch visited a home outside of Um Sirdiba, Um Durein locality, where five members of a single family died when shells hit their home and set it ablaze the night of February 17. There were no apparent military targets in the vicinity. Four sisters who were sleeping in one room burned to death. Their father, Samuel Delami, died soon afterward.

Halima Tiya Turkan, from the town of Ongolo in El Buram locality, was going to bury her brother, who had been killed by a bomb, when she heard the sound of an Antonov plane. She hid in a cave with her daughter, Asha. A bomb exploded at its entrance and bomb fragments flew inside, wounding the mother in the abdomen. “I didn’t know whether I would live or not,” she said. She was brought to a hospital on February 18, and was still recovering in April.

Early one morning in March, 16-year-old Daniel Omar milked his uncle’s cows and took them to graze not far from their house in El Dar, El Buram locality. He heard the sound of an Antonov plane and lay down on the ground. A bomb landed 10 meters away, immediately cutting off one of his arms. The other was badly injured and was later amputated. “I still have pain in my wounds,” he told Human Rights Watch researchers.

Around 10 a.m. on April 11, a 10-year-old boy, Kalo Sama, was playing with two other boys near mango trees in a field near Kauda. An Antonov dropped a bomb nearby, and fragments hit him in the left side of his head. His mother told Human Rights Watch that her son was so severely wounded that she did not recognize him when she found him in a hospital. His head is still bandaged and he has difficulty moving the left side of his body.

Churches, hospitals, and schools have also been damaged. Human Rights Watch visited a church in Alganaya, El Buram locality, that was destroyed by a bomb dropped by an Antonov plane on January 13. A home nearby was damaged by a second bomb the same day. A pastor from Um Durein told Human Rights Watch that a church there had been bombed, injuring a 15-year-old boy.

The hospital in the town of Buram was visibly damaged by bomb fragments. Sudanese human rights monitors also told Human Rights Watch that bombing or shelling had damaged a church in Darea, Dalami locality on December 31; a bible school in the town of Heiban on February 1; a clinic in Kurchi, Um Durein locality, on February 6; and a primary school in Um Sirdiba on February 17.

Many civilians told Human Rights Watch that while they had endured near-daily bombing in previous months, the intensity of the bombing diminished in the first two weeks of April while the fighting was taking place between the Sudan and South Sudan armed forces in Heglig.

Human Rights Watch has stated repeatedly that the armed forces’ bombing methods, rolling out unguided munitions manually from Antonov planes, is inherently indiscriminate as attacks cannot be directed accurately at a military objective.

International humanitarian law prohibits attacks that do not or cannot discriminate between civilian and military objects. Attacks that may be expected to cause civilian harm disproportionate to the direct and concrete anticipated military gain are also prohibited. The Sudanese military and the SPLA-North, the armed opposition group operating in the Nuba mountains, are obliged to take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to the civilian population.

Arbitrary Arrest and Detention
People in El Taice and Troji interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that Sudanese government soldiers, while in control of some areas, arbitrarily detained hundreds of men, women, and children, and then forced them to leave with the troops when they withdrew to government-controlled towns like Kadugli. The whereabouts of hundreds of civilians are unknown.

Eight witnesses from El Taice told Human Rights Watch that in early 2012, the SAF captured an estimated 400 to 500 civilians. El Taice, which is near Kadugli, has changed hands several times over the past 11 months, and was controlled by government forces for brief periods. Human Rights Watch researchers visited the town in late April.

Fatiya Kuchi was hiding in the mountains above the town and saw soldiers climbing into the hills, taking people by force and loading them into vehicles when the government forces left, apparently for Kadugli. “My mother was taken by SAF with four of my children. My first-born is a girl and she was pregnant. I don’t know if she is dead or alive,” she said. Hanan Kafi Rahal, also from El Taice, estimated seeing 10 large trucks filled with people.

Six civilians from Troji described a similar pattern of forced detentions and subsequent disappearances. Men, women, and children fled up into the mountains when government forces captured Troji in December. Scores of people were detained while trying to gather remnants of the destroyed harvest from their fields or while going to fetch water, or were forcibly removed from places they had taken refuge in the mountains.

Boutros Kuku Jahabiya, a farmer, said,“We were in the mountains and saw that many people were captured. Sometimes SAF would attack the mountains with guns and then when people ran down, SAF would capture them. Also, those in the mountains would get hungry and the only way for them to get food was to go down from the mountains. When they went down, SAF would also capture them.” He named 11 people he believed were taken by government forces and estimated that more than 200 had been captured by the government troops.

People interviewed said they thought these civilians were taken to Kadugli or Kharasana, another town controlled by government forces.

Arbitrary arrests, enforced disappearances, the taking of civilian hostages, and extrajudicial killings are all strictly prohibited under international human rights and humanitarian law, and may constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. Both the government and rebel forces are prohibited from ordering the displacement of civilians for reasons related to the conflict unless the security of the civilians or imperative military reasons so demand. Ordering the forced displacement of civilians for reasons related to the conflict, in other circumstances, is a war crime.

Sexual Violence
Human Rights Watch interviewed victims and several witnesses of sexual violence carried out by government soldiers in El Taice.

A 22-year-old woman from El Taice reported that she was taken by Sudanese forces into a trench the troops had dug. “One threatened me with a gun and the other raped me,” she said.

A mother of seven watched from a hiding place in the mountains as soldiers raped local women. “There were many ladies,” she said. “Some were injured. Some were killed and buried.”

Government soldiers raped the mother, aunt, and sister of a young woman from El Taice: “I saw my aunt being raped. We were in the mountain together, and they came and took her. She was raped near the mountain…afterward they took her to Kadugli.” The young woman’s mother told her that she had been raped by 11 soldiers. “When my mother came home, she could not even sit down.”
Human Rights Watch previously documented reports of rape in Kadugli and Heiban. Several people also spoke of rape by government soldiers or allied militia in Dalami, Troji, and Dammam, but Human Rights Watch has been unable to confirm specific incidents or interview witnesses from those incidents.

Denial of Access to Essentials of Life
The actions of the Sudanese government, including the destruction of towns across the Nuba Mountains and ongoing indiscriminate bombing, have resulted in a worsening humanitarian situation. Civilians, many of them displaced from their homes and living in mountain caves, urgently need food aid, access to potable water, and healthcare. The government, however, is continuing to restrict humanitarian aid.

Communities in the Nuba Mountains rely heavily on their own agricultural production, planting crops in June and July and beginning to harvest in November. Due to indiscriminate attacks and bombing, many families were unable to cultivate their land in 2011. Many people interviewed said they still are too terrified by the continuing bombing to spend days outside in open fields, or are unable to reach farms located some distance from their homes.

People in Troji told Human Rights Watch that in December, SAF soldiers set fire to stores of grain and to fields, destroyed grinding mills, and looted cattle. Troji was under SPLA-North control from June through the end of 2011, allowing some citizens time to plant crops. But the government attack coincided with the annual harvest. A traditional leader in Troji said that when Sudanese forces came in December, “they drove with tanks and vehicles over our fields and burned the piles of sorghum that had already been cut and heaped together. They put gas on them.”

Human Rights Watch also heard allegations that government forces intentionally destroyed boreholes and water pumps, limiting access to potable water for some communities. Researchers saw physical evidence of this in El Taice, where a borehole pump in the middle of town appeared to have been intentionally unearthed and hand pumps had been dismantled. Civilians in Troji said that none of the boreholes are functional, and as a result, they drink well water, which is visibly discolored. One man in Troji told Human Rights Watch: “Before SAF left, they destroyed all boreholes, so we are just drinking water from the wells. This water is dirty, and sometimes causes sicknesses. There were six boreholes in this area, and all were destroyed.”

People interviewed said it was particularly hard for them to get food and water when their towns were under government control. In El Taice and Troji, civilians described hiding in the mountains from government forces. Some of those who ventured down to gather grain or to fetch something to drink were either captured or killed.

The inability to cultivate, the destruction of crops, and restrictions of movement mean that civilians increasingly face serious hunger and risk starvation. Many people said they have been eating leaves, nuts, and wild fruit for months. Sorghum, the staple food, is completely unavailable in some markets, or is extremely expensive. The price of a malwa [about 3.5 kg] of sorghum has apparently risen from 2 or 3 Sudanese pounds to 15 pounds in Kauda. Human Rights Watch heard multiple reports that some people, particularly the elderly and children, have died of hunger or disease, but was unable to confirm the allegations.

Saleh Tiran Talha, 32, told Human Rights Watch that his 2-year-old son and father both died of illness in a cave around Buram town last November. He was unable to find medicine for his son, and was forced to abandon the body of his father when Antonovs flew over as he was going to bury him.

Zahra Jadain, living in mountains around El Taice, said: “My mother is there in the caves. She is sick and cannot walk. There is no hospital to take her to. I don’t have anything I can do with her. She is complaining of back pain because of running so much and carrying things on her head.”

International humanitarian law prohibits parties to an armed conflict from destroying objects indispensible to the survival of civilian populations and deliberately causing a population to suffer from hunger.

For the past 11 months, the Sudanese government has restricted humanitarian access to Southern Kordofan. The laws of war require all parties to the conflict, including the Sudanese authorities, to allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of impartial humanitarian relief for civilians in need.

International Response
The international response to ongoing violence and human rights violations in the two states has been muted, said Human Rights Watch.

While the UN Security Council’s May 2 resolution urged the two parties to the conflict to permit humanitarian access to the population in Sudan and South Sudan affected by the cross-border violence, it stopped short of condemning indiscriminate bombing of civilian populations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile or calling for an investigation into abuses there.

In February, the African Union, the United Nations, and the League of Arab States proposed a tri-partite agreement to permit humanitarian access to the affected populations in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile, but the Sudan government has refused to accept this proposal.

An August 2011 report by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) recommended an independent, thorough, and objective inquiry into alleged violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Southern Kordofan, with a view of holding those responsible to account. Human Rights Watch has also called for an independent investigation into abuses in both Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.

President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide in Darfur. In December, the ICC prosecutor requested an arrest warrant for Sudan’s defense minister, Abduraheem Hussein, for his involvement in the same conflict. Ahmed Haroun, the current governor of Southern Kordofan, is also wanted on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

Impunity for crimes in Darfur has allowed Sudan to continue committing grave abuses against its own citizens in Darfur and elsewhere, Human Rights Watch said.

The outbreak of fighting in Southern Kordofan followed weeks of growing tensions between the northern Sudan ruling National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) over disputed state gubernatorial elections and security arrangements in the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), which ended the long-running civil war. The election results indicated that Haroun narrowly won the governorship.

Conflict spread in early September to Blue Nile state, where tensions between the two political parties had risen amid delays in carrying out the popular consultations called for in the peace agreement.

The Global Environment

The Global Environment

Studying the changing global environment is central to the study of world regional geography. The more we understand the processes of the global environment, the more we can reestablish balance with greater clarity. Knowledge of world regional geography can prevent disasters and save lives.

“In the 20th century, an estimated 75,000 people were killed by volcanic eruptions while approximately 1.5 million died in earthquakes.” Earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes and tornado’s kill regularly. The natural processes of the earth are dangerous. If we plan ahead and prepare as needed, we can avoid danger. Choosing to live in areas of the world that are less likely to be struck by a hurricane or earthquake is advantageous. Being cognizant of the weather can increase our safety.
Human activities connected with economic development and industrialization change the world’s climate in ways that have significant consequences for all living organisms, whether they are plants, animals, or human. Anthropogenic, human-caused, pollution of the atmosphere leads to global atmospheric temperature increase. This results in altered rainfall patterns, rising sea levels that threaten coastal settlement, hotter temperatures that can increase the intensity of tropical storms. Many countries have agreed to cut down their production of greenhouse gases.

Water supports life. Less than 2% of the world’s fresh water is safe to drink. Many studies show that polluted water sources are the greatest source of illness and death worldwide. Water is crucial for survival. Everyone should take steps to ensure the purity of our water supplies.

Humans have changed the natural pattern of plants and animals dramatically by plowing grasslands, burning woodlands, cutting forests, and hunting animals. Because globalization has accelerated in recent years, ecosystems are destroyed and entire species exterminated. Tropical deforestation continues at an alarming rate. Tropical forest area about the size of Wisconsin is destroyed every year and the rate of deforestation continues to increase. This results in the destruction of a valuable resource. Tropical forests contain many medicinal plants and families of animals and other life forms. It contributes to the greater good of the earth’s natural process and it should be preserved.

Food production has to continuously increase in order to meet our needs. Scientists argue that the interaction between global warming, water problems, and food scarcity will be the defining issues of the next decade. Meat consumption, especially in North America, Europe, and Japan is three to four times greater than the rest of the world. Increased meat consumption consumes natural resources rapidly. The opposite extreme in Africa and parts of Asia produces starvation and food shortages. Millions suffer from undernourishment while millions suffer from obesity. The obese need to regulate their consumption in a manner that is more harmonious with their needs and not with their desire for beef and other luxury food items.

If everyone would align themselves to the common intention of doing what is best and working to attain this intention, then the people of the world could have balanced proportions and everyone would have what they need. Political tension, religious tension, hate, anger, and all other forms of imbalance continues to plague us. Poachers kill endangered animals to harvest their organs and sell them to those who will buy them. People rape, kill, pillage, and burN. The human race has the potential to be perfect, but selfishness, greed, and desire lead us in a downward spiral. If enough people manifest their intention to do what is best, then there is hope!

This is an interesting article…

Global Warming

By Holli RiebeekDesign by Robert SimmonJune 3, 2010

Throughout its long history, Earth has warmed and cooled time and again. Climate has changed when the planet received more or less sunlight due to subtle shifts in its orbit, as the atmosphere or surface changed, or when the Sun’s energy varied. But in the past century, another force has started to influence Earth’s climate: humanity

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is the unusually rapid increase in Earth’s average surface temperature over the past century primarily due to the greenhouse gases released by people burning fossil fuels.

How Does Today’s Warming Compare to Past Climate Change?

Earth has experienced climate change in the past without help from humanity. But the current climatic warming is occurring much more rapidly than past warming events.

Why Do Scientists Think Current Warming Isn’t Natural?

In Earth’s history before the Industrial Revolution, Earth’s climate changed due to natural causes unrelated to human activity. These natural causes are still in play today, but their influence is too small or they occur too slowly to explain the rapid warming seen in recent decades.

How Much More Will Earth Warm?

Models predict that as the world consumes ever more fossil fuel, greenhouse gas concentrations will continue to rise, and Earth’s average surface temperature will rise with them. Based on plausible emission scenarios, average surface temperatures could rise between 2°C and 6°C by the end of the 21st century. Some of this warming will occur even if future greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, because the Earth system has not yet fully adjusted to environmental changes we have already made.

How Will Earth Respond to Warming Temperatures?

The impact of global warming is far greater than just increasing temperatures. Warming modifies rainfall patterns, amplifies coastal erosion, lengthens the growing season in some regions, melts ice caps and glaciers, and alters the ranges of some infectious diseases. Some of these changes are already occurring.



With its roots in the Greek language, geography means “describing the earth.” Physical geography studies climate, landforms, soils, vegetation, and hydrology. Human geography is the spatial analysis of economic, social, and cultural systems. Globalization is the increasing interconnectedness of people and places through converging economic, political, and cultural activities. Some of the most important challenges facing the world have to do with globalization. Globalization is relevant to everyone on earth. All life is impacted by human growth and expansion. The following article is an overview globalization and its impact.

Areal integration is the study of how places interact with each other. While located in diverse physical, cultural, and political environments, different countries have come to expand their thinking beyond their local location and now connect with the rest of the world. Primitive, as it is defined, falls in line with self-dependence and isolation from the modern world. However, interaction with the world can be beneficial. Thus areal integration explores how and why the people of the world are connected in detail. “human beings transform space into distinct places that are unique and heavily loaded with meaning and symbolism…places can tell us how humans interact with nature and among themselves; where there are tensions and where there is peace; where people are rich and where they are poor.” (Rowntree, Lewis, Price, Wyckoff p.13)

The cultural landscape of the human realm of life expresses the expansion of global economies and culture. This is creating rapid long-term change and short-term change globally. The importance of precision and harmony in our lives is central to expanding our consciousness in a positive manner; in a manner that brings about change for the better in every way. The negative results of human actions continue to pile up. Pollution in the sea, air, and land continues at a rapid pace. Global warming threatens to destroy the earth if we do not do something to stop it. Geographers study cause and affect in as much detail as possible.
“The greatest migration in [known] human history is now going on as people move from rural to urban environments. This naturally changes the landscape of the earth.” (Rowntree, Lewis, Price, Wyckoff p.17) People with different backgrounds, different cultures, and different religious and political ideologies, now collide. It would be ideal if everyone remained calm and learned how to coexist and live together in equanimity. Unfortunately, many people are motivated with selfish intentions that cause negative reactions.

Population growth and expansion reduces available land and resources. The health and well-being of a society is maintained as long as there are sufficient supplies and peaceful coexistence. The health and well-being of a society is studied by studying life expectancy and the factors involved in human health. The net migration rate is higher than ever in all known human history. Cities are the focal point of the globalizing world. Thus widespread economic, political, and cultural change is happening rapidly. Data shows that half of the world’s population now lives in cities. Urbanization and industrialization go hand-in-hand. Cities are regionally and globally interdependent with other cities and towns.

Culture is described as learned, not innate, and is shared behavior held in common by a group of people, empowering them with what could be called a “way of life. Culture has both abstract and material dimensions: speech, religion, ideology, livelihood, and value systems, but also technology, housing, foods, and music.” (Rowntree, Lewis, Price, Wyckoff p.27) Social scientists study cultural tension and conflict. Traditional elements of a given culture often times rejects new and/or different cultures practiced by others. Similarly, new and/or different thoughts and belief systems as well often times reject traditional ideologies and practices. Some people love and some people hate. Some people are at peace and others are irate. This results in conflict. The state of mind of human beings is responsible for all external manifestation. If one person hates another, then this creates a problem. Loving one another thus becomes central to coexistence and peace on earth. Hate generally always leads to greater conflict. As a result, wars are fought and suffering continues. In order for cultures to successfully coexist, hate must be abandoned. Our way of life needs to function in a manner that is harmonious with our environment in order for successful growth and development to take place.

Finding a way to make peace with all is crucial for the cultivation of stability. Cultural syncretism is the blending of forces to form a new, synergistic form of culture. Something as simple as getting along seems to be the hardest challenge for the human race. When emotions flow and tensions grow, then war is what we come to know. Like children, ignorant and unable to behave, the human race is in need of the most basic instruction. Love one another. So simple! Love is the foundation of stability.

Another defining trait of cultural groups is religion. While there are more similarities than differences between major world religions, tensions still rise and conflict continues to ensue. Geopolitics studies the speed, scope, and character of political change in various regions of the world. Religion and politics greatly impact the stability world peace.

The qualities of human life are a major component in establishing a unified stable world, economically and socially. Improvements in public health, equality, and education lead to a greater paradigm. Finding ways to gain consumer products without destroying valuable resources, like rainforests, is crucial to stability. Finding a way to coexist with all is certainly a daunting task, but a necessary one. Where there is a will, there is a way. When we align our intentions with selflessness and love, the answers will manifest.

International trade ‘driving nature loss’

International trade ‘driving nature loss’

Many people, especially those motivated by the desire for the attainment of wealth, see the world as something to be exploited for their own selfish needs. Most people do not consider the future generations that will inherit the earth after we are gone. Our children and our children’s children will be left with a mess if imminant action is not taken. The future generations of our children will stuggle for resources and they will be in desparate need of fresh water. Such conditions lead only to suffering and conflict.

“Almost a third of threats to animal species around the world stem from trade to meet the demands of richer nations, a study concludes.” People always want more. More pleasure, more happiness, more material wealth, more of everything they desire. Yet, how often do we consider the consequences of our actions? How do we obtain our desired food or clothing or whatever it is we want? Where does it come from? How does it impact the earth? “Forests are cut down for coffee and cocoa plantations, removing animal habitat; elephants and rhinos are poached to provide ivory to East Asia.”

“The US, Japan, and Western Europe emerge as the main places where demand is driving biodiversity loss in exporting countries, while Indonesia and Madagascar are the two countries where wildlife is most under threat as a result of international demands.”
In order to maintain balance and harmony in nature, we need to be more cognizant of what we consume and take action to only consume things that do not cause such devestation. “Companies such as Nestle have decided to source raw materials from suppliers that agree to meet environmental standards – for example, pledging not to destroy virgin rainforest in order to grow palm oil.” Purchasing items from companies that promote harmonious relations with the natural world is a step in the right direction. Becoming more aware of the impact of our actions is also a step in the right direction. The more we do to live at a natural equilibrium with nature the better. Ideally, we should live in a manner that causes no harm to anything. Until we are living as such, there is a lot of work to be done!

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