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IJB Thinks 14 Politically Speaking

January 2010


Conflict is inevitable but violence is avoidable Editor’s Notes

As the decade along with the year 2009 comes to end, we are also saying goodbye to our two year old IJB Theme: Conflict and Peace Education. For the past two years all over our 200 cities and international meetings juniors have been carrying out activities using this theme. For two years we’ve all tackled the same issue and with our innovation created the most diverse educational activities to get people to understand the nature of conflict and ways to go about solving it. From peace marches, to movie nights, to experiential learning activities and discussions, we’ve done it all. The end of the year also got me thinking about the one year anniversary of Operation Cast Lead that started December 27th 2008. On that very day the Israeli Army launched a full on attack on Gaza upon the ending of a cease-fire in an attempt to capture Hamas, the elected governing entity of the Palestinian people in Gaza. The reasons for the attack were numerous, but mainly it was justified by the Israeli government that it was due to Hamas firing missiles from Gaza on civilians living in the South of Israel, which created a state of terror in that region. There were many civilian casualties during this attack on both sides of the wall. 1,400 Palestinians dead. 10 Israeli soldiers and 3 civilians dead. Not to mention the thousands of homes destroyed and people injured. The ongoing blockage in Gaza deprives about 1.4 million civilians from basic needs such as; health-care and nutrition. The living conditions in this tiny and most over populated area of the world are inhuman. This conflict is very deep in its nature, the Arab-Israeli conflict in general has been going on for generations since the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. There were many wars in this region over that land. Even though some peace treaties were made by Egypt and Jordan with Israel on a political level, on a social level the conflict is still embedded deep into people on both sides, and generation after generation is raised hearing horror stories about the other side. If we look at this diagram from the tool packet of the IJB Theme, we can clearly adapt it to this conflict. The situation is an ongoing vicious cycle of conflict, and people believe it will never end except by communication, re-education of future generations and reaching a compromise acceptable by both sides to start building peaceful relations. If CISV is educating people to become active members within their societies and agents of change, if our ultimate goal is to educate people for peace, then we should start by these generations growing up in the midst of these conflicts. Our aim should be to focus our training and education methods on future generations coming from areas of conflict, to help them come up with peaceful ways to resolve these deep rooted conflicts in hope of a better future. We are political. Whether we want to admit it or not, and its time to acknowledge this and start contributing in the areas of the world where we are most needed. Most people involved in this conflict, whether directly or indirectly would laugh at this, saying the conflict is too deep to be resolved. However, I believe it will be. Maybe our generation won’t live long enough to see peace in the Middle East, or maybe by some miracle we will see it before we celebrate our 90th birthday. It’s inevitable that it will happen. One day people will get tired of fighting, tired of life in fear and conflict and will start a peace process. I bet if I had told Europeans during world war one that they would all be united by the new millennium, share a single

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currency and no borders they would have laughed. If I had told East and West Germany in the 40s that they would become one state, where people live in peace and freedom without a wall, I would have been laughed at as well. Look at them now, In November 2009, Germany celebrated the 20-year anniversary of breaking down the wall. One day the wall separating Israel and Palestine will also be broken down, and some other area in the world will have conflict. Conflict is inevitable and it isn’t a negative concept. It is only human. We have conflicts within ourselves, with our families, our friends and with strangers. With positive conflict resolution education we can have these conflicts in a healthy way, that makes us grow and experience different opinions and the process of reaching consensus as opposed to giving in to our animal instinct and resolving them violently. Rowan El Shimi

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IJB Thinks Editor

What’s inside Think Pieces “Some of what happened in 2009” By Heba El-Sherif “Conventional Wisdom” By Paul Hinterberger “Philosophy of the flying bullet” By Hani Zbib “Costa Rica: The happiest place on Earth?” By Laura Valenciano

Climate Change “Double standards of an international organisation” By Clement Alziari “It’s up to us to act” By Lily Tomson “A skeptic’s perspective” By Tore Bang Heerup

Bursting out of the bubble: LMO Cooperation “Running naked to Copenhagen”

By Hussein Khalil

Things we stumble into: Twitter Edition IJB Thinks & Thanks

This issue is dedicated to the world. An issue dedicated to all those issues we care about. Accepting their existence and starting a dialogue about them will be the first steps to solving them. I encourage you to use these ideas in IJB Thinks 14 as food for thought and triggers to discussions with your family, friends, in your JB or with the whole IJB on the JB Community E-group. Note: Climate change was such a popular theme that it has its own special section. Each article tackles it from a different perspective, so enjoy!

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THINK PIECES

Some of what happened in 2009

On miscellaneous events that caught our attention By Heba El-Sherif There’s pain and pleasure in recalling a whole year that has just passed by. The mere fact that we are a year older gets us uncomfortable. That, however, we get over quickly. What is not easily shrugged off is the glum state the world has remained at. In the broader sense, a look into some of the events that took place last year may be a reminder of what was good, what changed but mostly what is disappointing. In 2009 the world witnessed a coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, a xenophobic murder in a courtroom in Dresden (but justice was served), the indictment of sitting head of state by the International Criminal Court on counts of genocide and crimes against humanity, and a US Airways Flight 1549 floating on the Hudson River. And some of the rest in no particular order:

Iran and the art of tweeting When Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was re-elected as Iran’s president last June, after elections many still believe were rigged, the news that shook the streets of Tehran sent echoes to now popular micro-blogging website Twitter. For weeks after the results were announced, Twitter was the only source of news to what was really going on, especially after the Iranian authorities banned all foreign coverage of the post election turmoil. Twitter has forever changed how journalists communicate with the world. Forget about submitting story ideas and meeting deadline; we are all a few clicks away from a breaking story. Maybe that makes us all journalists.

The Gazan crisis Before the start of 2009, war had already broken out in Gaza, claiming the lives of more than 1400 Palestinians, hundreds wounded and thousands without a home. Thirteen Israelis were killed. Three weeks later, it was over. But is it really? It’s true that no more rockets are fired into Israel from the Hamas-run strip, but to date, Palestinians live in the direst of conditions and aid convoys are repeatedly sent back. Every country has the right to shut its borders when threatened, but what about the right to live, to eat, to go to school; the right to have a home and family; doesn’t that supersede our arrogant right to shut our doors. I am not just talking about Egypt, Israel and Jordan, the three countries that share a border with the Gaza Strip, but where is the rest of the world? Leaders need to step up their efforts, pressure governments and make use of some five billion dollars that were pledged to rebuild Gaza last March. Activists everywhere are marking the anniversary of the onslaught on the Palestinians but it seems like all their effort is falling on deaf ears.

Bob Dylan releases another album I am a writer by profession, but if I was to go back in time I would learn how to play an instrument, work on my vocals and join a music school. That said, it is no surprise that Bob Dylan is among my (long) list of favorite musicians. His latest album “Together through life” is not his best but definitely worthy of mention in a catalog of what happened in 2009, even if only in appreciation of what this brilliant songwriter has offered to both the music and literary world.

COP15 I don’t know about you, but where I grew up, Cairo, Egypt, very little is said about the hammering effects of global warming. It is not part of our school curriculum and media outlets rarely tap into it. Perhaps what is most significant about this 2009’s (failed) UN Climate summit, is the unexampled media attention it garnered.

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THINK PIECES

Bye bye Jackson Nothing joyful came out of Michael Jackson’s death this summer. He died as he was preparing for a grave comeback. The death of this brilliant performer, who sold 750 million records of his hit Thriller, a world record, continued to make headlines for weeks on end; his funeral was watched on Television by an audience estimated at one billion; his records went soaring like never before; and at his memorial service everyone from his abusive father to his estranged ex-girlfriends wept. Something about it didn’t seem real. Jackson did have a strong fan base worldwide, but his success never flew without controversy. For most of the year prior to his death, everyone close to him had turned their backs on him. This makes me wonder whether we need an act as a strong as death to remind us that those of us who are different are also humans who deserve our love. A similar sentiment was cleverly uttered in an article in The Independent: “Now, of course, Jackson has been buried. A tribute film, This is It, is fading into obscurity. The LA court system will spend 2010 poring over the gory details of his death, and wrangling over the will continues. But aside from lawyers, it's difficult to find any winners in the troubling tale of Michael Jackson. When he passed away, news anchors spoke of a king being dead; the sad truth was that he'd never really been allowed to live.”

Obama and the Nobel for peace

Wasn’t that shocking? The announcement that Barack Obama would be awarded the Nobel Peace prize took the world by surprise. A look at Obama’s first year in office doesn’t make it any better. I believe in change and I am a big believer in the Obama White House, don’t get me wrong. But it seems to me that little has been done to underscore the magnitude of such a title, a Nobel laureate. For what? Closing down Guantanamo? As the US started to pull out if Iraq (with a complete pull-out scheduled for June 2010), bad news inevitably followed the good news as 300,000 troops were ordered into Afghanistan in December. That’s not peaceful. Being America’s first black president; stepping into a financial crisis, a war against the east and a shattered image cour tesy of his predecessor is enough baggage for one man. Now, he has the Nobel to drag along, an undeserved burden for one of the world’s icons of change. Did you know that Ghandi never received a Nobel for peace?

Presidents as targets I am not an expert on Italian politics nor do I carry a certain set of feelings towards the country’s not-so-popular Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Upon seeing his face bloodied after he was attacked during a rally in Milan, however, I couldn’t help but remember George W. Bush ducking down in a press conference in Baghdad last year, trying to avoid a pair of shoes being hurled at him. The perpetrator, Iraqi journalist Muntazar Al Zaidi, was sentenced to three years prison for insulting a foreign head of state during an official visit. The sentence was later reduced to one year, but on grounds of good behavior, Al Zaidi was released last September after serving only nine months in prison. I think that the idea that heads of states exercise a certain degree of immunity, appear to have absolute power and are rarely fairly held accountable is what propels angry citizens to commit such hysterical acts. I don’t see anyone doing the same when, for example, in an argument with their parents, if we assume that the household is the country and the parents are its leaders. It’s what we cannot get that we are drawn to. It’s human nature, a knee jerk reaction some say. Even if Berlusconi did Italy more harm than good, isn’t hitting him in the face with a sharp object an act of violence that will yield no good? Yes. Do two wrongs make a right? No.

Heba is a Journalist in one of the very few independent newspapers in Egypt. She is also the NIPPC for CISV Egypt and used to be on the awesome JB Board of Egypt in 2006/2007 as head of the events committee. Heba is a Coffee lover and recently did the unthinkable and left facebook.

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THINK PIECES

Conventional Wisdom

On questioning the things we think we know By Paul Hinterberger In the 90s crime was booming in the U.S. Crime-experts were discussing if it would take 10 or rather 15 years to get a handle on the issue. There seemed to be no way out of the crisis. It was a time when the only way out seemed to be an increase of police forces and improvement of policing strategies. When in the end of the 90s crime dropped by amazing rates, it seemed that politicians did everything right and crime-experts just misread the signs and in the end did everything right by advising politicians the way they did. Up to here this story makes a lot of sense. It's easy to believe that crime drops if you increase the number of policemen. This is of course true but was it the main reason? At this point most people don't see a reason to ask that question. An economist with a fetish for statistics of all sorts did ask himself that question and actually found data that helped explain the very sudden drop of crime during the 1990s even better. This economist Steven D. Levitt touches upon this issue in the book “Freakonomics”. The reason lay in a trial more than thirty years earlier. In Roe vs. Wade where Jane Roe won and thus laid the groundwork for legal abortion all over the States (January 22, 1973). Jane Roe wanted to abort earlier but couldn't, that’s why she took it to court. How did legal abortion help drop crime? Legal abortion affected single mothers in poor living situations, who now could have one if they chose to. Since an unwelcome child, in a poor living situation and a bad neighborhood falls for crime much easier than any other child, limiting unwelcome and unplanned children naturally lead to a crime drop which only appeared much later of course. Considering that most states legalised abortion a couple of years after the ruling, when the crime drop appeared, it was because hundreds of teenagers, that would have continued the crime-wave, were missing. The result was a huge drop of crime in almost no time. This theory is backed up by solid data, as Levitt describes quite entertainingly in his book. What this shows us, is that the easy and uncontroversial answer shouldn't make us stop thinking. You always have to ask yourself if the answer you found to a problem is in fact the only one. Is it even the right one? Doesn't the problem go much deeper? I want you to think about this for today: Does CISV really create people that later on create a more peaceful and just world or do we create people that think they're doing enough for a better world by attending CISV programs and so don't challenge their environment anymore but really just meet with other rich kids every summer? Or did we create Mosaic and IPP to make ourselves feel better about exactly that fact? Paul loves hosting people at his flat in Berlin. He studies Maths and is a huge IKEA fan. Paul also likes cooking and says the word “Sh*t” a lot. He is a member of the EJB team and is often referred to as politically incorrect. He asked the editor to let you know that his aim of the article was to put the question about CISV out there, and he’s not saying there is a wrong or right answer, so please don’t send him hate mail.

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THINK PIECES

Philosophy of the flying bullet

On how safety in your own country is a birth right By Hani Zbib It’s Saturday night. The Spanish soccer Classico is on. The game is intense and the atmosphere tense as always. Then Barcelona scores! And a minute later, the sound of random flying bullets can be heard from my window. No, this is not a war-zone I’m portraying, but it’s the repetitive image of a status quo in Lebanon. This is a first. Flying bullets don’t usually go out unless some politician is giving a speech on TV or some important political event is happening. However, to start flying bullets for a soccer match, this time they had gone too far. I can’t seem to feel but sorry for what I’m saying. I’m actually implying that they exceeded the limit of something that is usually acceptable. I can’t but feel saddened to hear myself utter that it has become acceptable for “them” to go out and fly bullets in the air as a demonstration of joy and support for something as stupid as a political speech or a soccer match! Who are they? It’s a very logical question to ask. I don’t really know. They differ from one speech to the other – depending on the party speaking. But when it’s a soccer match, you can’t really know who is flying these bullets. All you know is that someone, or many, have a gun and feel the urge to shoot it in the air whenever they please. All I know is that they have illegal guns that they take out whenever they want to rejoice and no one really chases them down to confiscate the arms from them. We really are helpless in front of this situation as citizens. We can’t do anything but sit down and accept that there are people out there who feel like it’s okay to jeopardise the lives of others and create a sense of insecurity in the country because they want to, and can. I do not blame them totally. I blame our government who is unable to do anything to these people, for being the exact reason why they sometimes shoot those bullets, for supporting such acts of endangerment of our citizenship and our sense of security. I blame the government for being unable to provide me with the least sense of security to live peacefully in the country I was born in. It is the obligation of every government to provide its citizens with the minimum sense of security possible for them to feel safe and at ease in their own country. This is non-existent in Lebanon. I do not feel safe in my own country. I do not feel like my government or my fellow citizens are providing me with the minimum sense of security. I do not appreciate that I have to hear flying bullets and accept it as normal. I do refuse to accept it but I can’t really do anything about it. The Lebanese government only prosecutes whoever is doing wrong when it feels like it. Sometimes it doesn’t even bother to do so because it has become a repetitive routine that no longer works on people. The citizens of this country take advantage of the situation to break the simple laws they can get away with and enjoy doing it. I’m not saying Lebanon is a crime filled country, not at all. It is a safe country when it comes to crimes, theft… etc. However, when it comes to the simplest things like stopping on a red light, following street directions, following

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THINK PIECES road signs, parking in the designated places and not wherever one find suitable… etc. Lebanese citizens abuse the law because it’s the easy way out – and no one is there to punish them for it. No official authority is coming to the person parked illegally in the middle of a driving lane because all the other parking spots are taken telling them they are doing something illegal and giving them a fine for it. It happens very rarely. They create their own sense of security and ease on the expense of the sense of security and ease of others. They compensate the lack of security non provided by the government by stepping over the security of other citizens. I know that I have portrayed an ugly image of Lebanon in my article. Those of you who do not know the beauty of Lebanon would take the wrong idea about it from what I wrote. It is a really nice country, but it has a lot of corruption and slips that come along with it. I had to raise my voice about this. I had to let the frustration out. I had to be politically incorrect for once and refuse to accept what has become “normal”. I demand to be safe. I demand to be secure. I demand to live a nice comfortable life in my country. I demand to drive and not be obstructed by other citizens overriding the law. I demand to never hear anyone flying bullets for anything again. I demand to feel like a citizen. But unfortunately, very few have their ears open to listen in this country. Hani is in his final days as NJR in for JB Lebanon. He also works for the connect team on the IJB Committee. Hani’s email wa s re ce nt l y h a c ke d by so m e o n e pretending to be him lost in England with no money. Editor sincerely hopes if any of you got the email you didn’t send thousands of dollars to whoever that person was.

Wondering who is in the Connect team?

Check out their JB Faces Christmas present video right here: http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=StnCw9vpLOA

Costa Rica: The happiest place on Earth?

On what happens when we let the church control the state By Laura Valenciano Costa Rica recently came in first place on a survey on the greenest and happiest countries in the world. It's known for not having an army and being a welcoming destination for tourists. It’s also a country that has an official religion engraved in its constitution. Costa Rica is a Catholic country, by law. Born and raised by a Catholic family myself all I can offer is a semi-insider's point of view. I won't talk about religious exclusion, mainly because I never was excluded because of my religion. I was baptised, did my first communion and attended mass every Sunday until I turned 18. In recent years, the Church has been a hot topic, and not because of its good deeds. Theft, abuse of power and now a constant modeling in our nation's path sum up a few of the headlines. Priests delivered their sermons against the free trade agreement with the US back in 2007, telling Costa Ricans they would be sinning if they voted in favor of it in the referendum.

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THINK PIECES

All of this is just background information for what I really feel like addressing, the recent campaign created and promoted by the Catholic church in association with Christian churches across the country titled "For Life & For Peace", with an anti-gay rights and anti-choice agenda. In the midst of an electoral campaign, a celebration was organized by these groups in order to proudly show future leaders of our country that they are against the recognition of both human and civil rights of various sectors within our society. That same Constitution that states our nation's religion creates limitations so no member of the clergy is legally allowed to participate or divulge political propaganda based on religion or spiritual believes. The efforts and investments directed to shape the upcoming election's result according to what best suits their beliefs have been tremendous and continuous. All the ministers, priests and archbishops had a front seat this day. Anyone could have easily mistaken that march for a religious procession. The degree of discrimination, violence and ignorance defended by the 5,000 who rallied that Saturday morning made my stomach a nut. Yet the strength, persistence and courage of the scarce hundred of us who stood before that large crowd and defended our rights brought tears to my eyes. I felt the holy water hit my face as I held my ground and they passed by. We heard their prayers for us as well as their insults. I believe we are at a pivotal moment in Costa Rican history. Costa Ricans have to ask themselves if they want to live up to the international reputation that has been built. We are at a standpoint where we can all choose to go forward as one or by stepping on one another to get by. That Saturday I thought it was really sad that where I was is supposed to be the happiest place on Earth.

Lalis is part of the Connect team of the IJB Committee as well as the ARM team. This funky girl takes care of all the tweeting that IJB does from our twitter account “ijbnews”. She studies law in the University of Costa Rica and teaches Theatre Arts on the side. Lalis is known for her very loud (and beautifully contagious) laugh. interesting banner from a protest...

IJBnews : Breaking News! This just in…

Keep up with everything the IJB Committee are doing day-to-day, and get the first news and updates at http://twitter.com/ijbnews

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CLIMATE CHANGE

Double standards of an international organisation On how CISV is contributing to future global conflicts

By Clement Alziari I had the great opportunity last week-end of being in Co(ld)penhagen. On top of being the capital of Denmark and home to the little mermaid, it became host of the climate summit UNFCC COP15/MOP5 (And you thought we were the only ones using acronyms?). Some would say it was supposed to be the single most important conference in history, ranking as high as Yalta or Bretton Woods, this time dealing with climate change. Apart from the official, 120 heads of states attending, some Danish NGOs organised a huge, informal open-space forum, called Klima Forum. Hundreds of conferences, debates, movies and concerts took place there. It was a big hot stew of whatever NGOs the world have got. I joined on Friday a conference called “Sustainable Development and International Youth Organizations”, as it sounded somehow familiar, organised by an NGO called Service Civil International (SCI), very close to our beloved CISV. To introduce them, let’s say they organise international work camps, where people ages 18 and up meet and build a bridge, repair a school... etc. Basically addressing a local community need. If any of you just thought “LMO! IPP! Mosaic!” well, you got the idea. There was a very interesting presentation which made me think (and as I’m stupid and French, when I think I want people to think with me so I raise my hand and think out loud) “If we want the project to be international we have to take planes, but planes are the worst way of transportation considering carbon emissions, so can we combine taking planes and sustainable development?” Apparently, one way to do so is to not take a plane, but use trains or buses instead. That’s not always possible, I myself flew to Copenhagen as I was short on time. Maybe here’s a good example of how modern lifestyle mainly steals time and thus liberty from men, but that’s another debate I guess! Another way is offsetting, which is when you pay someone to plant trees that might capture the CO2 you emitted on your plane trip. This in theory is very cool, I’d like to picture the plane pooping out trees to be planted on the way, but it has a few disadvantages. The main one is that you discharge your impact on someone you don’t know. There has been some questioning about the efficiency of money given to the middle-person that gives then money to charities which then gives it to African farmers to plant trees. There has even been a recent scandal about a local community being expelled of its homeland for a Dutch company to plant large amount of trees (http://bit.ly/Fooob for more info). Marek from SCI-Italy and I talked about the project they had in mind to collaborate with a tree-planting NGO to have their own offsetting partner to directly work with. This is a wonderful idea, and we could copy them if some IPPers or MOSAICers around are interested. However, I was confused and curious about our own impact in CISV via plane trips, so I did some carbon maths (I love carbon maths).

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CLIMATE CHANGE

According to the official CISV website “more than 190,000 people have participated in […] international activities”. Let’s pretend 80% of the participants travelled by plane; you may think it’s a lot, but remember your last camp. I remember my last summer camp in Great Britain (GB), even we, French people, went by plane. Now, let’s take an average 5000 Kms for the round-trip, which is a quite low estimate. Well, this adds up to more than 750,000,000 Kms, so around 168,000 tons of CO2. If we’d like to offset this amount by planting trees, we’d have to plant more than 6,000,000 trees. That is over 100,000 trees each year. My knowledge of tree planting is very little, but I think that’s a lot, and remember it only counts official CISV activities, no side-events. So now let’s focus on one camp. For instance, the best camp ever, “WhichWay” Summer Camp last august in Manchester (amazing kids and leaders, heard the French guy was pretty cool). Where from?

How?

How far? (km, back & forth)

CO2 per person (kg CO2 eq)

CO2 per delegation (kg CO2 eq)

GB (staff)

3 cars

200

50.6

151.8

GB (delegation)

3 cars

200

50.6

151.8

Denmark

plane

2000

508

2540

Sweden

plane

2800

711.2

3556

Israel

plane

7600

1679.6

8398

France

plane

1200

304.8

1524

Germany

plane

2300

584.2

2921

Costa Rica

plane

16000

3536

17680

Canada

plane

10000

2210

11050

USA

plane

10800

2386.8

11934

TOTAL

59 907

This camp’s travels emitted around 60 tons of CO2. To offset our emissions, we should have planted over two thousand trees. We actually planted one (the typical camp “grow with our dreams” tree). Now we have only 1999 to go. Good luck WhichWayers :-) Another carbon fact: if we want to be “carbon neutral”, i.e. if we want to emit just as much CO2 as mother Earth can absorb, we shouldn’t go over 1500 kgs of CO2 roughly per person and per year. We can see here that our Israeli, Costa Rican, Canadian and American friends are already over it, just with a round-trip ticket. Therefore, we have an impact. One we are not really able to compensate for, but actually, should we care? Should we, as CISVers, care about these invisible, long-term-but-we’re-not-even-100%-sure-about-it-being-harmful emissions? Maybe we shouldn’t. Maybe we’re not concerned in CISV about the world getting hotter, and oil barrels reaching 200$.

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CLIMATE CHANGE The fact is though; the Maldives are sinking. Typhoons hit the Philippines. The sub-Saharan crop yields are shrinking down. Katrina came by. The Himalaya is melting. All this stuff, apart from causing severe environmental damages, is also triggering and emphasising conflicts. One of the main reasons of the Iraq war, as you know, is tighter US control over oil resources. Afghanistan is also about gas pipelines. Civil conflicts in Angola and Mauritania are directly linked to oil fields. Glaciers melting mean disruptions in water distribution in eastern Asia, which means more political and even military pressure in this region. The expected 300 millions climate refugees from countries like Bangladesh won’t be welcomed peacefully around the globe. So, if we are working our ass off in CISV about peace and peace education, then I think we have a problem. If climate change and natural resources depletion cause or aggravate conflict and war around the planet, then are we really working towards peace by continuously traveling on planes? I think not. Maybe we’re pretending we are, by unconsciously balancing the concrete environmental damages we cause with the social benefits we think we achieve, but today we aren’t. We can’t avoid this question anymore. I’m not suggesting we dissolve CISV and give money to some more efficient charity, as it was proposed on CISV Devils some time ago. I’m suggesting we should perhaps re-think our organisation, and especially challenge our internationality. Some questions that arose in my mind are: Do we always need out-of-Europe delegations at European Youth Meetings? Do we need over 15 physical international meetings each year? Do we need 350+ people flying from 65+ countries at AIMs? I don’t have the solution yet, but I think one approach is to re-focus, and go more local. We have potential in every region, every state, and every city. Gathering regularly people from every continent has proved to be harmful to the environment, and increasingly peace endangering. Let’s face it; peace internationalism is today nonsense as we play it.

COOL TO KNOW Wanna know more about SCI? Go here: http://www.sciint.org/ Carbon maths sources: GHG Protocol, ADEME (fr), TCFFCA (ca)

Clemzi studied Chemistry and now works in a company in Paris with a specialisation in Carbon. In CISV France he is on the AIM 2012 team working on the theme. You may be interested to know that Clemzi was recently on a game show on French TV, as you can see from the photo, where at some point he talked about CISV and invited the host, Julien, to join.

JB Community : Something on your mind?

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CLIMATE CHANGE

It’s up to us to act!

On the significance of individuals in the climate crisis Lily Tomson There are lots of things you can call it; C l i m a te c h a n g e , G l o b a l w a r m i n g , Recession, the failure of capitalism...etc. To me, it all combines to become just one big problem. The world is based on a system where we want new stuff, made of carbon, all the time. We think it makes us happier, more attractive, better, when in fact we end up poorer, stressed, overworked, and without the time to do the things we love (like CISV). The earth doesn’t like it either: temperatures around the world are already 0.8˚C more than in the 1800s. There simply aren’t enough resources for us to live like there’s no tomorrow, which means that unless we change, there won’t be a tomorrow for any of us. People often say that there are five stages of coping with grief (and climate change certainly is an issue of great loss): denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and, finally, acceptance. When people hear many of the issues in the world today, they ignore them, as though it will go away. Nowhere is this truer than with the issue of climate change. It’s good to remember though that the last scientific organisation to stop denying climate change was the American Petroleum Institute, and if they think that they can do something about climate change, then you certainly can. Most CISVers that I talk to seem to have gotten beyond the first three stages, and are at depression. Climate change is such a huge problem that it feels impossible to do anything about. CISVers shouldn’t be like that, we should be on the front line, doing everything in our power to turn our Earth back from the “tipping point” before it’s too late. Our governments tell us to change our light bulbs and put less water in our kettles, but deep down we know that that’s not enough. Over 40% of the emissions in the UK are coming from everyday peoples’ homes and traveling. However most of us have no idea where or how to start, or even if we want to; why should we give up all of the things we love, which we think make our lives better? The truth is that we don’t have to. For the last four decades, our levels of economic growth and consumption have gone up but our levels of life satisfaction have stayed exactly the same or dropped. We simply have nothing to lose by living a simpler, slower and healthier life. By buying less crap, earning just enough money to support us, not to sit in a bank and never be spent and investing it well and wisely, wearing more pullovers and turning the heating down, thinking a little more about using trains not planes, and by making some noise about the problems, so the rest of the world will hear us. And they are listening. 100,000 people marched through the streets of Copenhagen last weekend, the biggest march ever. Last week 50,000 people, myself included, formed The Wave, the largest climate change march in the UK ever. The world is waking up, and CISV should wake up with it. There has just been a conference in Copenhagen, the biggest meeting of world leaders ever, which was meant to create a deal which would be both legally binding and creating the cuts needed to force governments to turn the situation around. This is the kind of thing that CISV should be aware of, and involved with. It’s not about politics, it’s about people.

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CLIMATE CHANGE

We need to think about how we live our lives, and how we adapt CISV to this changing world and climate. How can we build global friendship without destroying the globe as we do it? What kind of Climate change policy do you think CISV should have? What are you going to do?

Individual initiatives Check out how this teenager creatively solved an environmental problem http://bit.ly/8GT7Fe

Lily is part of GBJB and comes from the Sheffield Chapter. Lily is in high school and she enjoys spending time in the library and drawing pictures of herself though she could never quite explain why she does that. Like all good Brits she is a Harry Potter fan and when she took the quiz on facebook she was told she was Dumbledore.

A skeptic’s perspective

On how the summit in Copenhagen altered Tore’s attitude Tore Bang Heerup It was in the year 2007, after a tiring journey following a study holidays in the US Virgin Islands I arrived to my first EJBM in Milan, Italy. At that time the climate was also a big topic, not just at EJBM but also around the globe. People everywhere were talking about what one, as a citizen, could do to reduce CO2 emission; Don’t eat meat, turn off the TV, take the train instead of flying, don’t shower too long etc. I was sick and tired, and still am of all these TV shows that talk about what to do and what not to do. First of all they make me feel like a criminal, because I didn’t do many of those things. Second, they had the complete opposite reaction on me. I want to take the time I need in the shower, I want to fly and I really like meat. I don’t want to change my lifestyle, but I do want to save the environment. I must emphasise how sick I was, and in a way still am, of all this climate change debate. During an “Open space” session there was a talk about CISV and the environment. Among the proposals that were made was that CISV international should give 1 pound for each person flying with CISV. At the time I got really frustrated. I remember saying to the rest of my delegation that all these people were a big bunch of unrealistic hippies! (These were my exact words if I am not mistaken) Why should CISV, which doesn’t have a lot of money, spend this money on CO2 taxes? I always saw CISV as an educational organisation, so I think we should spend the money on having more programmes to educate more people. Then if these people want to take some money out of their own pocket to save the environment fine by me. Also I believe that what makes CISV unique is our capability to educate people to become agents of change. In my eyes we are an educational organisation, and we do have a huge impact on the people who participate in our programmes. Till a few days ago my perspective hadn’t changed. I was still sick of hearing about what I can do to save the environment. However, two days ago, I realised the massive effects of Climate Change. Living in Copenhagen during the last two weeks I have been following closely (or as closely as I could) what was going on at the COP15. Just to let anyone understand the size of this conference, it is the biggest conference the world has ever seen since the creation of the UN, maybe even bigger. 15.000 people have attended it and 45.000 have been registered. There has been a “head of state” for a number no media really knows but I think it is about 130. So of course with such a big conference you hear a lot about the climate. Here I have to admit that in the beginning I

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CLIMATE CHANGE just thought it was fun to be in the middle of it, with a lot of activities going on in the city. But then I heard some rather frustrating and desperate calls from leaders and climate experts all around the world. The laws of nature are not up for discussion and apparently it is a fact that the sea level will increase by up to 1 meter. This 1 meter, is given that we keep global warming under 2 degrees celsius. If the global warming reaches 3 degrees celsius, we don’t really know what will happen, we can only guess, and the guesses aren’t exactly a pleasure to listen to. So if we can keep the global warming beneath 2 degrees celsius and only let the water rise by 1 meter we will be clapping our hands for a great success. However, this will still mean that several countries will be erased from the map and the surface of the earth, some countries that are just above sea level will have to build dams in order not to get flooded, and we will see some major changes in the climate. When I heard this from crying presidents and experts saying that this is in fact the laws of physics I suddenly understood the huge challenge that we are facing now. Since then I have been putting my trust in the leaders of the world and the NGOs who are all working for changing that. Now, in this moment, I am watching the last bits of the COP15 and I see the leaders leave the conference one by one, without having a deal. I am disappointed and I am angry at the people who put procedures and diplomacy before the action. I am angry due to fear of what will happen in the future. After this huge mess the conference has been, when will the next time come when there is such a big potential for decision-making? Will we ever reach an agreement for an ambitious legally binding deal before it is too late? To be honest I am not sure, and my hope is decreasing dramatically. Now I feel really bad that I haven’t done more in the war against Climate Change. However I can’t just change my lifestyle and I do think that the big changes have to come from higher level of society. It has to come from above. It has to come from sustainable energy and a massive effort from the leaders of the world, and we do need to act now, all of us. When this is said, I must admit that I am happy about the peace education we do in CISV and I still don’t believe that we should pay money/taxes for CO2 emission. However, I do think that we, youth of the world, should look more into our possibilities of fighting climate change. If we can contribute in some way, that will make this something people won’t relate negatively to, as I did. I think that we are making an impact. I hope that other people than me will bring up the topic of climate change in CISV, and I hope that we can come to an agreement on a way of dealing with it more pro-actively. What the earth will look like in 40 years is indeed an issue we all affect and need to care about. Tore has gotten rid of the hair, don’t worry. He studies business and psychology in Copenhagen. You can mostly find Tore googling things and working in the awesome Quality Lab of the IJB Committee as well as the Youth Meeting Committee. He is mostly famous for his combination of purple cardigan and white shirt, that he somehow pulls off.

Alternative Resources Check out how this couple got their car to run on vegetable oil http://bit.ly/18VxoQ IJB Thinks

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BURSTING OUT OF THE BUBBLE: LMO COOPERATION

Running naked to Copenhagen

On extreme initiatives to represent Lebanese youths’ views By Hussein Khalil We are facing an environmental crisis: CO2 emissions have reached critical levels and our planet is in danger of eradication (as if 2012 wasn’t enough). The leaders of the world have yet again decided to meet (after the inconclusive Kyoto gathering), this time in Copenhagen, to find a definite solution for climate change. Newspapers across the globe read: “Hopenhagen” and “Our last chance!”, but the Lebanese headlines read: “The Bliss Naked Fun Run”. Ali Fakhry is an environmental activist working with the NGO IndyAct. He was focused on representing the people of Lebanon at the Climate Summit and felt that this contribution would highlight Arab interest in this global phenomenon as well as the involvement of marginalized developing countries. His aim was to raise 5000$ through sponsorship, in order to send 30 activists to the conference taking place in Copenhagen. On the 30th of November, Ali and two other male colleagues, Sherif Maktabi and Karim Badra, stripped down to their boxers and ran down Bliss Street for Climate change. Controversial? Yes. Fun? Hell yes! Their aim was to dash across the street in the nippy weather, exposing their bodies along with slogans for climate change; such as: “Are you plugged?” (Since energy consumption contributes largely to CO2 emissions) Consequentially, they reached an entire student body, while also gaining major news coverage. Ali told iloubnan news-site “The law on the matter is subject to interpretation but I could be sentenced to one month up to one year of imprisonment” Societies don’t seem too tolerant of exhibitionism, no matter what the cause. On the bright side, no one was convicted, and they managed to get enough money to send a considerable amount of activists to Copenhagen. I received comments from two of the three runners. Karim Badra stressed “Global “hotness” is a serious issue in today’s world” Playfully referring to his naked run and that of his colleagues. Sherif Maktabi acknowledged his comment and added “It’s hilarious getting calls from relatives surprised to see me in newspapers, but also great, since it means we met our goal and raised not only money, but awareness!” What bothers me most is that three men had to run naked on the street, in the freezing cold, in order to pass such an obvious message. Without Ali Fakhry, we wouldn’t be represented at the international conference. Decisions would have been made, and as usual, we would have passively lived them out. Ali posted a note on Facebook, which includes this statement: “Obviously, I am not in this for the fun of it, but for the urgency of the Climate cause and the indifference of everyone towards it. No one is taking action so I will.” Truly inspiring words by one naked Lebanese man. Wanna work on climate change? IndyAct is an LMO we can work with! Find them in your city: www.indyact.org

Hussein is one of the Lebanese NJRs and he studies Political Science at the American University in Beirut. He is a TV show addict, particularly to Scrubs. Next time you can catch Hussein will be in Egypt attending the Middle Eastern JB Workshop in February, where we will be working with an LMO ;-)

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THINGS WE STUMBLE INTO: TWITTER EDITION

SECTION

Why a twitter section? This is a special section to allow people to share their opinions, and interesting things they find without having to write up a whole article about it. To tweet for IJB Thinks simply email: ijbthinks@ijb.cisv.org

Ceci Arbolave, Argentina “Portraits of Power" brings amazing pictures of world leaders by photographer Platon, along with interesting audio remarks. http://bit.ly/4TKnpV

Karo Serafin, Germany I read about this project a while ago. One way of using creativity to make the world a better place http://www.eyewriter.org/

Martin Rottler, USA "The airplane is just a bunch of sticks and wires and cloth, a tool for learning about the sky and about what kind of person I am, when I fly. An airplane stands for freedom, for joy, for the power to understand, and to demonstrate that understanding." - Richard Bach

Lily Tomson, GB If you want to try and cut down your flights, this website is very helpful: http://www.seat61.com/ There is an international campaign called 10:10 urging people and groups to cut 10% of their carbons during 2010. Be part of it. http://www.1010uk.org/

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IJB Thinks & Thanks “The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think” - Horace Walpole Top 5 websites I’ve stumbled upon this time Animaniacs sing about nations of the world List of 25 Banned books you should read today

IJB Thanks... Heba, Paul, Lalis, Lily and Hussein ...our first time writers The rest of the contributers ... for their amazing input Mona Abdelaziz ...for her proof-reading skills

The last decade in news photographs

Cecily, Maru, Mateo and Paul ...for helping make the video ad of the issue

Chappatte - Editorial Cartoons on world affairs

Ceci, Karo, Martin and Lily ...for being the first IJB Tweeters

The 50 most controversial films ever made

Stumble, Twitter, Youtube & facebook ... for always inspiring me

What the IJRs are thinking today...

Letters to the Editor Anna Forrest: Hi! The new edition looks great, I'm especially fond of the new genres represented in the magazine (the poem) - lets get more of that! Kelly Bowden: There's nothing like a captivating cover to lure literary like-ers inside. Congrats on your first issue friend, it truly is looking beautiful. Karo Serafin: hey rou. good job on the thinks. though i have to admit, it’s really long. seriously at some point you stop reading. at least when you don’t print it.. you know how it is with reading on a computer. Maybe two shorter thinks instead of a long one can be an idea? Mai Alkhamissi: Congrats Rou! I love your letter from the editor! Chapeau :)

Any more thoughts? Just email! ijbthinks@ijb.cisv.org

Rou Look I’m not an intellectual, I just take pictures.

Maru Buy good olive oil. It will really improve your life.


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