Dear friends, supporters and colleagues,
Another Spring and another election is underway. History has shown us that when far-right politicians reassure or exploit people’s sense of insecurity with easy-fix populist slogans, it can only end bad, yet we are seeing just this playing out across Europe (east and west) and the USA, despite the warnings from history. The French Presidential result is something to take hope from, though 11 million French voters opted for Le Pen. Macron now has a tough ahead if he is to unite his country.
But in the USA, since the inauguration of Donald Trump, an interesting exercise has been taking place as Bernie Sanders and his supporters hold meetings and go out door to door to speak to Trump voters, alienated by the entire political system. And they’re finding that – at the very least – they thank him for simply engaging and listening.
RACHEL CARSON DAY 27th MAY
Man has put the vast majority of carcinogens into the environment and he can, if he wishes, eliminate many of them. The most determined effort should be made to eliminate those carcinogens that now contaminate our food, our water supplies, and our atmosphere, because these provide the most dangerous types of contact – minute exposure repeated over and over throughout the years.
Silent Spring 1962
RACHEL CARSON marine biologist, writer and conservationist
In the year 1962, Rachel Carson was not only another breast cancer statistic, but the woman whose writing skills and scientific acumen shocked the world upon publication of ‘Silent Spring’ in which her research findings of irreversible reproductive and genetic damage to aquatic-life forms resulting from the use of pesticides were presented in her signature narrative style. Her attention to smaller aquatic life forms at the bottom of the food-chain revealed the multiplier effect for life forms at higher levels, with major predictable effects for we humans in our position at the top of the chain. The changes being observed and recorded by Carson were an early warning of the future scenario for all life forms. As such they still stand as the first scientifically-based predictions of both real and potential harm to life from manmade chemicals.
Fifty years on and the shocking difference between then and now is that there are many thousands more manmade chemicals being produced and released into the environment than the number developed by the smaller scale post-war chemicals industry of Carson’s time. Many of these are linked to breast cancer risk and right now there is a battle to ensure that post-Brexit UK remains within existing EU chemicals legislation (REACH), which is regarded as the best in the world.
From Balfour to the present day: a century of colonialism in Palestine
This year’s November 2nd marks the centenary of the Balfour Declaration of 1917. It signifies 100 years of suffering of the Palestinian people and the colonisation of their land.
In 1917 the British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour wrote a letter to the wealthy British banker and Zionist Lord Rothschild, in which he declared :
“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”
This short letter had no legal status, but was later incorporated within the terms of Britain’s Mandate for Palestine. Thus it became one of the most significant documents leading eventually to the creation of the state of Israel and the on-going quagmire of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
From the outset the Declaration was controversial, and almost all the opposition came from within the Jewish community itself, because very few Arabs were even aware the existence of such a proposal. The Declaration was seen largely as a means for diverting Jewish immigration from Britain to Palestine. The most prominent British Jewish politician of the day, Sir Edwin Montagu, opposed it vigorously. Later, when the language of the Balfour Declaration was included in the Mandate for Palestine, the House of Lords voted to reject this in a motion passed by 60 to 29, on the ground that the Declaration was opposed to the “wishes of the great majority of the people of Palestine”.
Dear colleagues and friends, supporters and funders,
It’s been a tough year. We end 2016 with the June Brexit vote and Trump election win in November; devastating conflicts in Syria and Yemen and news that has seen Arctic temperatures rising far higher and faster than scientists had predicted.
After Trump’s USA election win, there were some in the USA who drew strength from the idea that it’s ‘darkest just before the dawn’ and that now is the time for progressives to rise to the challenge with policies and campaigns that can push the far-right back. Let’s hope this observation proves to be the case as we do all we can to support those ever-growing justice movements around the world who are fighting to make this a reality.
Below is our 2016 round-up. Please be in touch if you want to know more, get involved or help our work in any way. Where-ever we are, what-ever we do, there’s a lot to ‘push back’ in the coming months and years.
From Pink to Prevention activities & toolkit this Breast Cancer Prevention Month
Dear friends, supporters and colleagues,
As we find ourselves mid-way through the global fundraising phenomena that is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we ask are environmental and occupational links to the disease ‘an elephant in the room’?
We want to draw attention to a breast cancer narrative that is excluded from the ‘pink’ limelight.
For decades now, scientists and activists alike have argued that the persistent exclusion of environmental and occupational risk factors for breast cancer (eg carcinogens and hormone disrupting chemicals) by government, breast cancer charities and industry is, at the very least baffling and, at worst, obstructing a basic public health right to know. We argue that the time has come for policy-makers to explain why they are refusing to acknowledge the evidence that links these risk factors to breast cancer.