December 2021 Issue
Ed Aguilar on: How We Can Move Toward Climate Justice -- for the Global South, and for the World?

In 2021, the UN Association of Greater Philadelphia partnered with the Coalition for Peace Action and many others, to address the issue of Climate Justice for the Caribbean, the Global South, and the people of the United States. Our President, Mary Day Kent, has called for a Toolkit for Climate Action - this article provides ways to align with efforts underway to do just that, on a local, national, and global scale. 

We’ll focus here on a key part of that Toolkit -- the proposal by 101 Nobel Laureates, and the Dalai Lama, to put together a new NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty) for Fossil Fuels. This model Treaty does not need to pass right away to have a salutary effect, just as the Nuclear NPT took years, and kept nuclear threats from rising in many nations. This effort starts right now -- with no time to lose, as 100,000 young people told the delegates in the streets of Glasgow. See, The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (

What will the FF-NPT Do? Prevent the proliferation of coal, oil and gas, stop new exploration and production. 

The world is on track to produce twice as much coal, oil, and gas by 2030 as is consistent with limiting the rise in global temperature to below 1.5C. An immediate end to exploration and expansion into new reserves is needed to prevent the proliferation of unnecessary and unburnable fossil fuels, to protect workers, communities and investments from becoming stranded, and to avoid locking the world into catastrophic and irreversible climate disruption. 

FAIR PHASE-OUT -Phase out existing production of fossil fuels in line with the 1.5C global climate goal.
This needs to happen much faster -- e.g., we must keep President Biden to his promise to end fossil fuel leases on public lands. We can petition the White House to cancel plans for new Public Lands oil and gas leases, along with the Sierra Club and others. In our region, we need to save our lands and the Delaware River from new LNG (liquid natural gas) ports, which risk catastrophic LNG explosions on trains across our cities, farmland, and the Delaware itself, the source of drinking water for 16 million people in our states. 

We must defend the rights of Indigenous peoples and impacted communities, and shift support to green alternatives, to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement. 

Fast-track real solutions and a just transition for every worker, community and country. 

A peaceful and just transition calls for a clear path and a proactive plan to enable economic diversification, implement renewable energy and other reliable, cost-effective low-carbon solutions, and to support every worker, community and country. We can either develop new ways to meet our needs or lose the window of opportunity to ensure a safe climate, healthy economy and sustainable future. 

On January 23, we’ll talk about these key steps:

  • Involve your members of Congress - we’ll discuss how. 

  • Align with many people working for solutions -- This might include the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, the Better Path Coalition, the Sierra Club, the Sunrise Movement, and many others. 150 legislators from 30 countries have called for a fossil fuel free future.

  • Register to vote, and support candidates who support Climate Justice at home and abroad.

  • Just as 50 years ago the world needed a treaty to defuse the threats posed by weapons of mass destruction, the world today needs a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. Can we participate in the NPT for Fossil Fuels? Yes -- we may add our names as individuals, as a city, state, organization or corporation. Endorse as an organization

Some of us have already endorsed. You can link above, and sign for an NGO, or individually. An NPT for Fossil Fuels can provide the structure, definitions, and an indispensable game plan to get going to resolve the climate crisis. We, and all our climate partners, can be a part of the solutions that tackle the ongoing crisis, before it becomes a catastrophe. 

Christiaan's Desk: Christiaan Morssink: December 10, 2021. International Human Rights Day. Or is it?

Human Rights Day is coming up. Normally, we would organize an event at the Ethical Society, have speakers and performances, make a toast to Eleanor Roosevelt, and have our membership meeting. COVID policies changed all that. A wrecking ball to many small NGOs, an interrupter of everything social, a political nightmare for and in many nations, and a reminder that power corrupts the universality of human rights, in this case, the rights as described in article 25. 

This year we had (and may still have) plans to highlight the human rights situation in Haiti, following the natural disasters that befell the population in that country (again). Miranda Alexander has been working with the Haitian community in Philadelphia and we thought that a country specific topic would make sense this year. However, the ideas were not yet firm, and some other opportunities were still discussed and pursued. But Haiti stays on my mind, as it has for many years, as a place where solidarity with its masses, and active involvement with ameliorating the plights and enhancing the rights of the downtrodden can be a cause for action for global citizens. This solidarity should include focusing on the human rights and on the cruelties of “immigration policies” of western nations when it comes to the people of this proud black country.

Now, one day before Thanksgiving, I am aware that Haiti has become a failed state; no government with accepted authority, police and security forces operating without a clue of legality and justice, criminal gangs practicing open disregard for law and order, and a common sense of human dignity and brotherhood (see article 1 of the UDHR) eroded and broken. The killing of the president by mercenaries was shocking. Even more shocking was the fact that these, rather clumsy, foreign thugs were hired by external forces that trace back to the USA and drug cartels. It is but a latest manifestation of decades of brutal interferences, from USA sponsored obsessiveness to keep communists at bay through supporting tortuous regimes, to the French former colonists holding Haiti ransom to such an extent that it was handicapped for decades in developing anything that could be called a well-organized economy. 

Of course, there will be many others who disagree with the above views, but all have to agree that Haiti resembles a failed state. Human rights are not respected in failed states. Indeed, human rights are but afterthoughts in dictatorships, in democracies where hegemonies are beholden to one segment of the populace, and in failed states. Indeed, human rights assume the existence of a shared belief of the dignity of each person, assume respect for that dignity and the equality of that dignity in all matters of the state, and they assume some form of “the brotherhood of all” (read democracy) to take responsibility for organizing that respect. In failed states, and sadly in many, not yet full, democracies, that responsibility is missing, shirked, or used at one’s convenience. Much to reflect on for December 10.   A toast to Eleanor Roosevelt nevertheless, if but for the sheer fact that we have a UDHR. SO, LET’S CARRY ON, AND DON’T STAY CALM. 
Adheera Chilamkurthi: Linda Davis-Moon: Career and Covid

The global healthcare force is very strong, and is trusted by governments with the health of entire populations. The entire system was shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic. The UNA-GP wanted to have a retrospective on what teams at hospitals around the world had to endure during the pandemic, and we did so by highlighting one hospital system. 

I interviewed a UNA-GP member, Linda Davis-Moon, who has been working at her hospital and university in Philadelphia for many years, teaching as well as doing extensive clinical work with patients. During the pandemic, Linda has been close to the frontline action without being engulfed by it. I asked Linda a multitude of questions about her early career, next stages, hospital environment and finally about how she and her hospital handled the pandemic. 

In her career, Linda has been on the administrative track, has a passion for emergency care and consistently sees patients and teaches. As she approaches retirement age, Linda does not want to traditionally retire, but instead wants to still be involved because she feels that one should always be open to what life offers you. Linda works at an academic hospital in Philadelphia and she is very proud of their diversity and how they are aware of demographics in the changing population. Also, the focus in the hospital is on the four areas of education, clinical care, research, and innovation. 

Linda’s hospital heard about the pandemic in the beginning of 2020 and started to prepare. They did not know what was happening, but they made sure to stock up on gloves, masks, testing, and other supplies as well as reorganized staffing. Universal precautions were taken to be careful and even though the hospital saw a lot of Covid patients they had low transmission in employees. Linda feels this demonstrates resilience and resourcefulness from the hospital which continued throughout the whole pandemic. Covid brought up a lot of uncertainty, but the staff did not walk away -- instead they took care of patients and did their jobs. The staff did not panic in the face of pressure, but did their duty and showed up even with families and personal lives of their own. 

As we are now approaching the holiday season of 2021, Linda reflected on sentiments learned from the pandemic. First, she said that she saw tremendous compassion throughout the entire pandemic. For instance, staff picked up extra shifts when they knew that their coworker had just done multiple ones in a row. During this time, comradery was built, and memories were made on the frontline that would stick forever. The 2nd lesson Linda passes on is to rely on science. People do not always believe in it, but the integrity of science in healthcare needs to be preserved and we need to do a better job in educating people so that we are better equipped if another pandemic happens. When you go through something enormous like the pandemic, there is always a need to learn and adjust. 

For the future, we need to realize as a whole world that borders are artificial. Borders don’t recognize other borders, and we need to recognize that what affects one country will affect other countries. Linda is hoping that Covid has a silver lining that opens eyes as to how borders are human-created, and that while they may be a way to organize people, they do not isolate and protect one population from things that affect all. We need to learn and construct better dialogue across borders. 

In the end, Linda believes that there are potentially-useful lessons, as noted above, from the Covid-19 pandemic that may partly offset the suffering it caused. Both within her and her colleagues there were mixed emotions, but they showed up and got through the worst of it together. From Linda’s perspective, if we learn those lessons for the future, we will all be better for it. The Philadelphia Chapter of the UN Association thanks Mrs. Linda Davis-Moon for her time once again with this interview and wishes her and the world well after the pandemic. 
Save The Date:

Please mark your calendars for Jan 23rd event "After Glasgow's COP26: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally for Climate Justice"
Look Back on 2021 In-person Events!
World Ocean Day Event
September 21. Peace Day Event
Becoming a Member!
Dear Friends of UNA-GP,
We hope you will join us in strengthening support for renewed US commitment to our global community. Use the link below to join the national United Nations Association, listing Philadelphia as your chapter, to help us with our work for international peace and social justice that includes us all. If you have been a participant with UNA-GP and aren't sure if your membership is up to date, this is an easy link to renew!