July 2022 Newsletter
A Spotlight on Gun Safety Can Save Many Lives in Our City and State

A gun safety expert at Rutgers University, Prof. Michael Anestis, recently
pointed out:

"Hundreds of millions of firearms already in American homes are not
subject to rules regulating sales, but they will play a role in future
homicides, suicides and unintentional shootings."

Why? Because they may not be stored safely. Or, because they have no trigger locks, and are found by a curious child, with resulting serious, unnecessary harm to an innocent victim, usually the child himself or herself. And most states, like our own Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, have no real
gun safety laws, and few community education programs for parents and gun owners.

We at the UN Association ask - What can be done? And what can also be done to cut the increased scourge of gun violence, with guns too easy to get, which are killing far too many young people and others in our communities?

Nationally, President Biden recently called on Congress to pursue several/pieces of legislation, including universal background checks. The recent/tragedies in Atlanta and Boulder amplified this call for action. In New Jersey,

Gov. Phil Murphy has made firearm safety a priority, facilitating two firearm-focused legislative packages and creating the New Jersey Gun Violence/Research Center. But, New Jersey cities have still seen a surge in shootings over the past year, with Black and Brown communities being disproportionately impacted.

Professor Anestis noted that gun purchases are up, and not just for self-defense. "Startlingly, new research shows individuals who purchased firearms during this surge are more likely than others to have experienced suicidal thoughts." Another important idea is Red Flag laws, which separate guns from people who are at risk of harm to themselves, or a family member, as determined in a Court

Safe firearm storage offers several benefits. For suicide prevention, it puts time and space between suicidal people and the most lethal method of suicide. For domestic violence prevention, safe storage decreases the odds of a fight becoming fatal. For unintentional shooting prevention, safe storage
reduces the odds that a child will gain access to a firearm and unwittingly shoot themselves or someone else. For homicide prevention, safe storage reduces the odds of theft and subsequent trafficking of firearms for crimes.


"For any safe storage effort to work we need to train trusted community members to talk about safe firearm storage, including faith leaders, City Council members, civil society groups, and others. In fact, a recently released report by the office of the Surgeon General promoted this idea."

All this can happen, without threatening the Second Amendment. UNA-GP will co-host a Zoom for UN Peace Week with Peace Day Philly and CFPA, on gun safety in our community, on Sunday, September 18, at 2:00 p.m. - stay tuned!

By Ed Aguilar, UN Association of Greater Philadelphia, and Coalition for Peace Action, PA Director.

From Christiaan's desk

This morning Al Roker was again smiling, but with hesitation, as he forecast another very hot day, way above normal, in our region. In Deventer, The Netherlands, they will, after two years of pandemic waiting, organize a “run for all”, from young (parents behind the stroller) to the very old: “walk half a mile and be counted.” The “need” to get out and be seen without smiles or frowns hidden behind masks is putting fear for the predicted heatwave on the back burner. When I was reading about the disappearances of lakes in Chad, Northern Asia, Chile, and how that Hoover Dam may actually stop delivering electricity, I started wondering how long it takes for politicians and their demos to “get it” and can/dare to shake their dependence on “vested interests”. Even in progressive Deventer, they have put a stop to plans for going for wind-and-solar-only by 2030, because the mayor and the city council don’t know how to handle the resistance from those who are “vested”. Who OWN the land, or the view over the river, or the motel, or the beautiful park in their neighborhood. Indeed, preparing for the climate dramas of tomorrow is hard, very hard, and protests can be expected to come from all angles. Protests mostly from those who may know of the problem but cannot, will not devalue their stake in order to seek a common solution.

Common solutions will be needed. Individual action is good, but are a sheer joke when understood on a global scale. It’s also clear that climate change is upon us, and that the politicians and “stakeholders” on Wall Street and Main Street have for generations ignored, subverted, and stifled the calls from the world of science and from the global agencies that use that science. We now have to deal with resiliency, as in “too late to prevent, let’s see how to prepare” ourselves and our built environment for the extremes in weather that will occur. The UN especially is calling for urgent actions along such topics as deterioration of coastal lines and coastal cities, harbor protections, migration of millions away from the new and old deserts that are reaching boiling points. The FAO is urging dramatic changes in the food systems and food distribution systems: we need to rebuild the fertile soil capacity of our planet Earth; the WHO is building out a rapid tracking system to signal the next pandemics, track diseases like skin cancers and heat strokes, and train the professionals how to work in extreme conditions. And so on. 

Most awareness for those who feel not apathy or are so shallowly focused on their consumption right now ( by the way, gas in The Netherlands is at $11.00 per gallon) is around what can we do in terms of energy demand changes, to which I like to add as well a change around waste handling and understanding waste in a circular economy.

When these aware people (woke? What is that) discuss resiliency, it is focused mostly on infrastructure and the built environment. It’s not mental (yet), nor focused on the physical and processes, such as breaking away from the recent trends of very short storage and handling times in almost all production, especially food. Which makes sense. Sustainable development is now infused with the urgency of resiliency and shouting out the audacity of maintaining inequities (see the vaccine distribution in the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the recent upheaval around baby formula). Monopolies are dangerous things in building resiliency and being resilient. 

Philadelphia as a city clearly listens to the debates about SDGs and climate change in the UN. Not always, as the golf course plans in Cobb Creek illustrate (wonderful space to create a high intensity, fully organic, hydroponically infused food production facility, most often still called “farm”). But overall, Philadelphia is looking at its own developments with an eye to sustainability and to resiliency. The plans regarding the rivers, the airport, hopefully soon our housing stock (not only lead free but also hurricane proof and highly energy efficient) are all debated, as one does in a democracy, with as many stakeholders as possible. I myself, as a stakeholder, would like to join that debate to keep hammering on what global citizens in Philadelphia can do as individuals in their own homes and their own communities, really drilling down on the idea that none of us can be resilient, until all of us are resilient. 


The UNA-USA Champions program provides UNA members with the opportunity to lead on global issues within their communities. Champions are key advocates and preliminary organizers who play a key role in expanding UNA-USA’s reach across the nation. Ideal participants are 21+ and not currently enrolled in school full-time. Ideal champions are looking to become active UNA-USA advocates in their community, and are already interested or invested in UN issues. They can participate in monthly engagement calls with fellow Champions, access to an online community, and resources to assist them in various activities.
Youth and Student Programs
UNA-USA has a growing network of youth leaders advocating for global progress on the world stage. No matter what global issue you’re passionate about, there’s a way to take action with UNA-USA.

Get Involved!

Climate Action

We can’t turn our backs on the facts. We’re in a race against time to act on climate.

From sending a message to your elected officials to learning about the U.S. Climate Alliance, discover how you can take action today to support a healthier and more sustainable planet.
The UN Association of Greater Philadelphia Invites you to:

Garden Party 2022!

When: Sunday July 24, 2022  4 – 7 pm

Where: 146 Pelham Road Philadelphia. 19119

All welcome. $25 donation at the gate,
Focus on safe and clean water.

Please r.s.v.p. to: info@una-gp.org

 Flier: here
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!