A different kind of tea party: how US farmers are brewing up a new industry

Unchon Ramos has kickstarted an American tea farming revolution right from her farm in Virginia but growers say the industry is still in the wild west stage of development

As a girl growing up in South Korea, Unchon Ramos remembers her mom would always give her green tea to drink at bedtime when she didnt feel well.

And when she washed my hair, she always put a couple green tea leaves in the water, Ramos said.

Slowly, she learned about green teas many benefits: that its loaded with antioxidants, which avoid cells in the body from deteriorating, and that it can improve brain function and boost immune system functionality. Green tea is also high in flavonoids, associated with reducing cardiovascular disease and avoiding cancer. A analyse in 2007 by the US Department of Agriculture found that a single cup of brewed green tea has seven times more flavonoids than brewed black tea, nine times more than a single apple, and nearly five times more than a glass of wine.

So when Ramos and her husband, Louis, decided to buy a rundown old farm in Virginia in 2012, it didnt take her long to choose what to grow. But local farmers told her Virginia is not the various kinds of place to grow tea. My hometown is the same climate as Virginia, and theyre growing tea, so I supposed: Im going to try anyway.

Ramos now operates Virginia First Tea Farm, which sells soap, shampoo, dish soap and laundry cleanser, all infused with green tea grown on an 80 -acre farm in Spotsylania, Virginia. This year, building on a thriving mail-order business, the familys products became available at eight Whole Food Market in Virginia and Washington, DC. Next, Ramos wants to process green tea for drinking.

Unchon
Unchon Ramos with a showing of Virginia First Tea Farm products at a Whole Foods store in Newport News, Virginia. Photograph: Joanna Ramos

Brewing a local industry

Although tea growing has a millennia-long history in Asia, it has virtually none in the US. There are only about 30 established farms in the US growing Camellia sinensis , the shrub from which all tea assortments are rendered, according to the US League of Tea Growers. Although that number is small, it has tripled since 2011. Approximately an equal number of farms grow tea in Hawaii, where the climate is more accommodating. ( Camellia sinensis is sensitive to harsh climate and soil conditions .)

Rie Tulali, spokeswoman for the US League of Tea Growers, attributed the growth to people who simply like tea. More than half of all Americans drink tea daily, according to a report by the Tea Association of the USA. That intake is growing about 5% annually, and the US is the only Western country experiencing growth. Also, that increase is coming entirely in the arena of specialty loose-leaf teas, while familiar pouched tea sales remain flat.

Tea parlors and cafes have an increased presence in major cities throughout the US, as do commercial tea shops like T2 and Les Palais des Thes, which sells loose leaf teas in dozens of ranges from around the world. Even Starbucks is entering video games. In 2012, it purchased Teavana, a US chain of 300 specialty tea retailers, for $670 million, its largest acquisition ever.

People really are concerned about their food sources and what their carbon footprint is, said Judson LeCompte, a research associate in the Department of Plant and Soil Sciences at Mississippi State University, home to one of the nations largest tea research programs. So if they can get a locally produced product, thats much more appealing and theyre willing to pay for it. That dedicates our products a niche market they can fit into.

But, while the opportunity for American farmers who want to experiment with tea is grow, there are significant obstacles.

Its still kind of in this wild west stage of developing, where no one has really figured out the model for growing tea yet, Tulali says. Even if anyone figures it out in Mississippi, its a completely different tale in the Pacific Northwest, or California, or Maine because the environments are so different.

For example, a single region of China may have 300 tea assortments, or genetic cultivars, that have been bred over centuries to tolerate particular clay conditions and local weather extremes. In all of the US, Tulali says, there are still only 3 or four cultivars.

One lure for American farmers is that tea growing presents few barriers to entry. Although learning to grow and process tea can be challenging, a lucrative crop can be raised on very small plots of land. A grower can plant 6,000 tea shrubs on a single acre of land for about $20,000, LeCompte said. That might be 20 times the cost to plant an acre of corn, but the corn is necessary replanted annually. Tea shrubs will create for hundreds of years, and ultimately yield specialty loose-leaf teas that might sell for $30 an ounce or more 10 times the price of a familiar box of Lipton tea containers found in every grocery store.

Even so, LeCompte said US tea growers are not likely to ever threatened the dominance of their counterparts in Asia.

Out of the billions of servings that we import a year, we would be fortunate to produce 1% of that, he says. But I do think China and other countries have something to learn from us. And I think we have so much to learn from them.

The
The Virginia First Tea Farm property near Spotsylvania, Va. Photograph: Joanna Ramos

Learning from the masters

Both green tea and black tea come from Camellia sinensis . The discrepancies between the teas comes in the processing. Black tea is allowed to oxidize after harvest before being dried. This creates a stronger flavor and transforms the leaves with a dark brown color. Green tea is heated through steaming or pan firing, which avoids oxidation. As a outcome, the foliages remain green and have a more delicate, fresh flavor.

At first we were, like, This sounds really difficult, says Joanna Ramos, Unchons daughter and a co-owner of the business. Its very experimental, its still in its infancy, but its running good in so far. We are able to get enough green tea be utilized for our soaps.

Virginia First grows the tea plants employing organic methods, although the company is still working to obtain official organic certification. Weeds are pulled by hand, and no chemical pesticides or fertilizers are used.

Tulali says most US tea growers is still not utilizing organic techniques, because they are focused on producing a viable crop from the finicky plant and seeing a viable market for teas that are relatively new and expensive in the US market. US growers are still experimenting with their plant material and sharpening their craft, Tulali says. But what they do have as a benefit is their farms are typically very small, so the government had better quality control over the plenties they do have.

When Ramos launched her business, she made more than 10 trip-ups to her home region of Kumsan, South Korea, to examine tea growing. She brought back tea seeds and a Korean recipe for green tea soap. Her spouse, Louis, supervises farm operations after retiring from a career in the US Air Force.

While many soaps use animal products like milk and glycerin( often made from animal fat ), and fillers such as gluten, the Ramos family sticks to basic ingredients that are sourced locally whenever possible. For example, some of their products include cucumber and dried berries, which are obtained form local organic farms.

A
A batch of tea leaves and other ingredients being brewed to build Virginia First Tea Farm shampoo and conditioner. Photograph: Joanna Ramos

The family began selling soaps by word-of-mouth and at local farmers markets in the Williamsburg, Virginia, region. Slowly, local natural food markets agreed to carry their products. This year, seven Whole Foods Markets became distributors.

They are extremely popular, says Morgan Franklin, deputy director of Rebeccas Natural Foods in Charlottesville, Virginia, and one of the first stores to offer Virginia First Tea Farm products.

Unchon says the soaps are made by mixing in a powder from crushed tea leaves. The farm also sells matcha( a powdered green tea liquor) made from tea imported from Korea.

Green tea soaps are comparatively common in groceries that focus on selling healthy products, but most are imported. Joanna says as far as she knows, her familys company is the only one in the US that sells green tea soaps made from tea leaves also grown in the US.

Next, Unchon wants to start selling tea for drinking. But first, the family must acquire facilities for drying and roasting the leaves. Unchon hopes the first tea products for drinking will be produced early next year.

Were not trying to be in every supermarket, because that would just be a ridiculous standard to keep up our quality, Joanna says. The goal is to be able to keep our quality up and not worry about quantity.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

We’re out of day on climate change. And Hillary Clinton helped get us here | Naomi Klein

Clintons conviction that she can get the fossil fuel companies on board is mistaken: this cant be resolved through convincing the ultra-rich to do the right thing

There arent a lot of certainties left in the US presidential race, but heres one thing about which we can be absolutely sure: the Clinton camp really doesnt like talking about fossil-fuel fund. Last week, when a young Greenpeace campaigner challenged Hillary Clinton about taking fund from fossil-fuel companies, the candidate accused the Bernie Sanders campaign of lying and declared herself so sick of it. As the exchange ran viral, a succession of high-powered Clinton advocates pronounced that there was nothing to see here and that everyone should move along.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

We’ve been mayors of New York, Paris and Rio. We know climate action starts with cities

If we want to reduce emissions, cities are key. But they need to be empowered if they are to have an impact

The Paris climate agreement, already signed by more than 175 countries, was successful in large proportion because national governments distinguished cities progress in reducing carbon emissions. On Thursday, as world leaders gather in Washington DC to discuss how to reach the goals set in Paris, they should focus on helping cities do even more, and act faster, to reduce those emissions.

Cities account for most of the worlds carbon emissions, and their share will continue to increase as cities increase in size. Today more than half of the world lives in cities, and by 2050, two-thirds will. Every day, the worlds cities grow by about 60 square kilometers an region equal to New York Citys borough of Manhattan.

How that growth takes shape in the next few years will determine whether we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and it will also have major economic and public health implications. Cities planned around affordable mass transit expand economic possibility while cleaning the air we breathe. Smart houses and land use save energy and protect people from extreme weather events, helping cities avoid enormous potential costs.

National governments can do a lot to assist cities accelerate this work, and thats a key goal of the Coalition for Urban Transitions, a new initiative from the New Climate Economy launched at the Climate Action Summit in Washington DC. The coalition, made up of global financial and business leaders, thinktanks, city officials and urban planning experts, will help achieve the Paris climate aims by making cities a focus of national economic planning, improving city access to financing for low-carbon infrastructure and making the economic case for climate friendly urban growth, particularly in developing countries.

To us, the case is clear. Actions to reduce carbon emissions in urban areas are expected to be a $17 tn global economic possibility by 2050 based on energy savings alone. Those endeavors will save lives, because air pollution contributes to more than 10,000 premature deaths each day. Mass transit can help reduce traffic accidents, and also increase economic activity by reducing congestion. And pedestrianizing key areas such as the river banks in Paris in the summer can improve quality of life for urban dwellers.

But in order for cities to take these steps, national governments must empower them. For instance, outdated national laws prevent many cities from utilizing local tax revenues or borrowing fund on their own. Thats a reason why merely 4% of the 500 largest cities in developing countries are rated creditworthy by international financial markets. Lately, the city of Lima, Peru, worked with international banks to get a credit rating, which enabled it to issue bonds to invest in low-carbon mass transit. More cities need to be able to take steps like these.

Mayors usually have some degree of control over the biggest sources of emissions, and can often act on their own to reduce those emissions, without the political and bureaucratic hurdles that national governments face. Those that dont ought to be given such authority. A new analysis by the Compact of Mayors shows that cities with control over house rules are 30% more likely to take steps to stimulate houses more energy efficient than those without such control. In many cities, buildings are the single largest source of carbon emissions, so these actions can make a very big difference on a global scale.

National governments can also assist cities by removing national fossil fuel subsidies that undermine incentives for public transit and clean energy. And they can help broaden the growing networks of cities that are working together to fight climate change. Through the Compact of Mayors, more than 490 cities have committed to reducing emissions and publicly reporting their progress. These include our home cities of New York, Rio de Janeiro and Paris, along with London, Tokyo, Mexico City, Jakarta and myriad others. And through the C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, 83 of the worlds largest cities are sharing best practises, which further accelerates progress.

Stronger cities are in every nations best interest they account for 85% of global GDP, and they are engines of technological process and policy invention. Many national governments recognize this and are already taking steps to better integrate cities into national economic planning. Chinas central government released a National Plan for New Urbanization 2014 -2 020, which provides support to help cities grow sustainably. Indias national government launched its 100 Smart Cities initiative as part of a larger effort to help improve lives in its growing cities. And about one quarter of all African countries have national urban development strategies.

Still, much more to be necessary, and the clock is ticking. By giving cities the power to act, and putting them at the center of national economic strategies, we can protect our planet while building a better future for the increasing number of people who call cities home.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

California natural gas leak could be capped next week, officer says

An adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown told residents near the leak that the final phase to intercept the ruptured well should start Monday.

A California official outlined a scheme Thursday to cap the massive Los Angeles-area gas leak by the end of next week.

Wade Crowfoot, an adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown, told residents of Porter Ranch that the final phase to intercept the ruptured well should start Monday. It is then expected to take another five days to permanently seal the Southern California Gas Co. well that has been initiated leaking in October.

The announcement at a public session is ahead of the companys worst-case prediction that it would be plugged by the end of the month. The well has been leaking for 15 weeks.

The blowout at the largest natural gas-storage facility in the West has uprooted thousands of residents and spewed more than 2 million tons of climate-changing methane.

Residents have complained of headaches, nausea , nosebleeds and other symptoms. Public health officials blame the woes on an odorant added to the gas and said there shouldnt be long-term health problems.

SoCalGas said it paid $50 million to try to cap the leak and relocate people through December, but it hasnt given an update since on the costs. The number of relocated families has since rose to 4,400 residents, and the company is facing more than two dozen suits from residents and several public agencies.

The company was charged this week by the Los Angeles district attorney with misdemeanor criminal charges for failing to let country emergency officers know about the leak for three days after it was detected Oct. 23.

Several state bureaux have ordered the company to plug the leak and are analyse its cause.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Why a protest camp in Florida is being “ve called the” next Standing Stone

At first glance the quiet town of Live Oak seems an unlikely venue for a stand against Big Energy. But in recent weeks its become a centre of opposition

A north Florida river that attracted the states first tourists a century before Walt Disneys famous cartoon mouse is emerging at the centre of a fight against a contentious 515 -mile natural gas pipeline that many are calling Americas next Standing Rock.

One section of the so-called Sabal Trail pipeline is being laid beneath the crystal waters of the Suwannee river, whose pure mineral springs were once fabled to remedy anything from marital discord to gout.

Today, the abandoned stone bathhouse at Suwannee springs is a disintegrating ruining, and the four hotels that once stood here, the last of which burned down in 1925, are long consigned to history.

The Suwannee river itself though is currently a scene of ongoing conflict amid the opposition to a $3.2 bn pipeline designed to carry a billion cubic feet of natural gas daily through Alabama and Georgia to power plants in Florida upon its scheduled completion later this year.

At first glance, the quiet township of Live Oak, with a population of fewer than 7,000, seems an unlikely venue for such a stand against big energy. But in recent weeks a sizeable woodland protest camp has grown on the banks of the Suwannee and a number of non-violent direct any steps had taken place, including one last week that temporarily halted building and resulted in eight arrests.

Opponents say the building of the pipeline is harming not only the natural beauty of places such as the Suwannee, but irreversibly damaging sensitive environmental and culturally important areas in all three nations, and threatening the supplying of clean drinking water for millions.

This is our land and our water , not theirs, says John Quarterman, president of the WWALS Watershed Coalition that advocates for the conservation of five rivers in Georgia and Florida, including the Suwannee. We cant just sit here and let them come through here. We have to do something about it.

In these parts of northern Florida, as in much of the rest of the nation, the karst bedrock being drilled for the pipeline is a fragile and porous limestone.

Campaigners say that drilling has already resulted in sinkholes forming at several sites, and claim to have evidence of inadequate construction practises, including photograph from the air appearing to show the leaking of drilling mud into Georgias Withlacoochee river from a frac-out.

The consortium of companies behind the project, Spectra Energy of Houston, NextEra Energy of Juno Beach( the mother company of Florida Power and Light) and Duke Energy of Charlotte, North Carolina, insist that stringent safety measures are in place and that security threats to the environment is minimal. Drilling the pipeline, they say, makes a much smaller construction footprint than roads, railroads and water mains.

But adversaries claim Spectra including with regard to has had issues around its safety record, pointing to an explosion caused by a rupture of a natural gas pipeline across the Arkansas river in 2015; a pipeline detonation near its Nig creek compressor station in British Colombia in 2012 and documented regulatory fines of more than $650,000 for various environmental violations since 2010. Not least of the campaigners frets is the possible threat to the underground Floridan aquifer system that offer drinking water for about 10 million people, according to the US Geological Survey.

Environmental impact analyzes and an independent hydro-geological report commissioned respectively by the Sierra Club of Florida and a Native American clan leader warning against health risks of catastrophic breakdown of parts of the cave system essential to the free flowing and purity of water through the aquifer.

Sabal Trail Transmission LLC, the entity set up by the three energy companies to run the project, says campaigners anxieties are unfounded. Sabal Trail will not significantly impact karst terrain, springtimes or the Floridan aquifer with its construction or operations, Andrea Grover, the companys director of stakeholder outreach, wrote in written statements to the Guardian.

The pipeline, she said, was needed to upgrade Floridas fully or near-fully subscribed natural gas transmitting infrastructure and its road and building techniques were determined, after a lengthy consultation period, to avoid, minimize or mitigate impacts.

Protesting
Protesting the pipeline at Live Oak, Florida. Photograph: Richard Luscombe for the Guardian

There were communications, commentary periods, face-to-face and public meetings with landowners, community members and public officials, she said, adding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission( FERC) and other pertinent federal and country environmental permitting agencies conducted regular inspections.

A massive social information campaign on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #StopSabalTrail has been set up to complement protest attempts on the ground, and organisers say a light is being shone in dark corners of the project that are normally had an opportunity to escaped scrutiny.

Until now these companies got away with it because they tucked it in these tiny Suwannee places like this and didnt tell anyone, says Josh Michener of Twin Falls, Idaho, one of several residents of the Sacred Water campsite who expended weeks in the autumn protesting at Standing Rock.

But the technology, the awareness, attains it much easier for people to know whats going on. You can say its futile, this is a pointless place to be, just a bunch of hippies in the timbers. But its not just about Florida. You can find a majestic point anywhere in the world and say its worth saving but its really the fight against these companies. Thats what constructs it universal.

There are other parallels to the campaign that halted the Dakota Access pipeline( DAPL) in December, particularly the involvement of the native American community. Last week the Seminole Tribe of North Florida said it was opening four heartland protest camps along the pipelines planned road in Levy Countys Goethe Forest and in the towns of Bronson, Williston and Dunnellon, where the tube will lie less than 3,000 ft from a high school.

The tribe is promoting campers to act as water protectors, to observe construction and document and report any violations they witness.

Although the pipeline does not cross Native American reservations, as DAPL did in North Dakota, Floridas indigenous tribes lament the impact on lands it sees as culturally sensitive, like those around Fort Drum creek in central Florida with histories dating back to the Seminole wars of the 1800 s.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Leonardo DiCaprio given rival invitations to visit Great Barrier Reef

Scientists and tour operators on the Great Barrier Reef have extended a non-political offer to show Leonardo DiCaprio the impacts of coral bleaching, after the Queensland government responded to the actors remarks on bleaching by inviting him to visit the reef.

Dean Miller, a marine biologist and science director of the non-profit group Great Barrier Reef Legacy, said he wanted to say to DiCaprio: We would like to take you to the Great Barrier Reef and prove you firsthand what we assure , no political or media spin, only the facts from the scientists themselves to present you what is really happening here.

At the US State Departments Our Ocean conference in Washington, Leonardo DiCaprio made an impassioned plea for policymakers to save coral reefs by addressing climate change.

He highlighted recent bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef.

This year, Australias Great Barrier Reef suffered what is thought to be the largest bleaching event ever recorded, he told the meeting, after being introduced by the secretary of state, John Kerry.

Over 600 miles of reef previously teeming with life is devastated. We are seeing this level of impact to coral reef around the world from Hawaii to the Florida Keys, from Madagascar to Indonesia.

He said what he saw in other reefs around the world took his breath away: Not a fish in site, colourless, ghost-like coral, a complete graveyard.

In response, Queenslands deputy premier, Jackie Trad, invited DiCaprio to come and ensure the reef for himself.

He can come any time he likes, hes absolutely welcome to come to Australia, to come to Queensland and to come to the Great Barrier Reef, she said in Brisbane.

In response, Great Barrier Reef Legacy a non-profit organisation of scientists, tourism operators, filmmakers, educators and conservationists induced its own offer.

All of us at the GBR Legacy live and breath the Great Barrier Reef every single day and are considering firsthand the damage that climate change is doing here, said Miller, who is also a documentary filmmaker.

John Rumney, a veteran tourism operator on the reef and the managing director of GBR Legacy, said he wanted to take DiCaprio out to see the reef largest single coral colony a 1,000 to 2,000 -year-old boulder coral he said was “ve called the” monolith.

If Leonardo can see the current health of the Great Barrier Reef for himself, especially the largest and maybe the oldest coral colony here on the reef, he will be as shocked as we all are, Rumney said.

Rather than being ushered and controlled by a government agency that has demonstrated it will do anything to set a spin in their favor, the reef needs to be first.

It wasnt clear how serious the governments offer to DiCaprio was but GBR Legacys offer is backed by Aroona Luxury Charters, which said it would put up $54,000 to money DiCaprios trip. He could dive the reef from its luxury ecotourism barge, said Ross Miller, Aroonas captain and manager.

If Leonardo can assist in any way, then we would be honoured to take him to the reef on a week-long expedition into the northern and more remote segments to indicate him why the reef is so special to us all, and why we need act now, Ross Miller said.

He said the boat could offer a more remote and adventurous tour than others that were available.

The Great Barrier Reef was hit hard by the global coral bleaching event this year. With a strong El Nio adding to global warming, reefs around the world turned white and died.

On the Great Barrier Reef, 93% of reefs were affected by bleaching and almost a quarter of the coral is thought to have died.

GBR Legacy is hoping to soon launch the first independent privately funded research ship on the reef, which would offer free space to scientists, students and media, Dean Miller said.

We are opening our limbs and our doorways to anyone on countries around the world that can help us overcome the great barriers to save our reefs and Leonardo DiCaprio is most certainly someone who can help us make significant and positive changes for the future health of the Great obstacle Reef.

Postscript: After this article was first published, Indigenous traditional land owners in north Queensland, the Yidindji nation, also widened an invite to DiCaprio. Yidindji foreign minister, Murrumu Walubara Yidindji , said on Twitter that his government was more than happy to give DiCaprio a unique view on the Great Barrier Reef.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Trump: 100 days that shook the world- and the activists fighting back

Three months in, the future is totally unpredictable. But a dramatic fightback is currently underway. Four activists tell us how they are adapting to the new normal

Naomi Wolf, author, political journalist and cofounder of DailyClout: Trump didnt do this. You did this. Your own inactivity brought us precisely here

The first 100 days of President Donald Trump: how has my life changed? First of all, there was the mourning period. Not for me, but for my fellow citizens. I was just mad. And I wasnt even maddest at the Trump voters. I understood that the critical battle line now are not left versus right, but the 1% neoliberal globalisers making off with all of the loot and disembowelling the middle class. So when I find the campaign, I knew that in the US, just as in the UK, a candidate who said anything at all about people forgotten in the neoliberal race would have a solid chance.

No I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. All of January, people on the left would tackle me with dazed, grief-stricken expressions, as if they had just emerged from a multi-car pileup on a foggy road. How could this have happened? What will we do ? I couldnt even bear to participate in those conversations. Ultimately I started explaining my rage to my closest friends.

I had been calling about the possibility of this very moment for eight years, since I published a piece in the Guardian titled Fascist America in ten Easy Steps and wrote a book based on it, called The Aim of America ( 2007 ). Under George Bush Jr, the left had been very receptive to the books message about how democracies are undermined by the classic tactics of would-be authoritarians.

But once Obama was elected one of ours I had to expend the next eight years screaming like a haunted Cassandra, to a room the left had abandoned. I had yelled myself hoarse for eight years under Obama about what it would mean for us to sit still while Obama sent drones in to take out US citizens in extrajudicial killings; what it would mean for us to sit still while he passed the 2012 National Defence Authorisation Act that let any chairman hold citizens for ever without charge or trial; what it would mean for us to sit still while he let NSA surveillance, let Guantnamo to stay open, and allowed hyped terrorism stories to hijack the constitution and turn the US into what finally even Robert F Kennedy Jr was calling a national security surveillance state.

Naomi
Naomi Wolf, photographed last week at Stony Brook University, NY: I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. Photo: Christopher Lane for the Observer

For eight years, under Obama, my audiences were libertarian cowboys and red-state truckers; members of the military and police forces, who were appalled by what they were witnessing; and even conservatives, worried about our legacy of liberty. My usual audience, the shoppers at Whole Foods and drivers of hybrid autoes, the trained left, my people, sat smugly at home while the very pillars of American republic were being systematically chipped away. They were watching Downton Abbey and tending their heirloom tomato patches on weekends in the Hudson Valley, because everything was OK; yeah, he may OK drone ten-strikes, but they cant be that bad, since he was one of ours a handsome, eloquent African American, a former community organiser in the Oval Office. Seduced by the image of a charming black human on Air force One who talked about change a white woman in a pantsuit( though highly pay back Goldman Sachs) talking about that highest, hardest glass ceiling the left slumbered while US democracy was undone brick by brick by brick.

So my feeling, the first inaugural month of 2017, as the left sat shiva, was: now you are worried? Now you want action? Now that the separation of powers is a joke and the constitution has collapsed around your ears, you point a finger at Trump and say, Sudden Catastrophe?

He didnt do this. You did this.

Your own inactivity and willingness to be seduced by two-bit identity politics labels, without actually doing the hard work of being patriots and defending the actual constitution brought us exactly, exactly here.

I had sought for eight years to explain to my own people, to no avail, this: “its not” that important who sits in the White House if the structures of democracy are strong. If the structures of republic are strong you can have a madman or madwoman for four years or even eight, and then he or she is gone, and the nations freedoms live.

But if you take an eight-year nap snoozing through a systematic dismantling of the structures of republic freedoms of speech; freedom of the press; separation of powers; fourth amendment rights to privacy; and allow the suspension of due process under the guise of fighting the war on terror hell yeah, some day you will wake up and there will be a crazy human or a strongman in the White House and then nothing you do or say will make a difference any more.

So yeah, Month One: I had nightly glass of red wine to dull my rage at my own feeble delusional kind, and avoided the collective liberal mourning conversation.

Month Two: February was the month of OMG! Or else, WTF! I was part of it too, as Pres Trumps new-to-us-all methods of explosion Twitter bombs, engaging in scary political theatre, perpetrating daily acts of apparent, um, economic treason, and doing it all at a bewilderingly fast pace, demanded a learning curve from us all. It was a sense of chaos, destabilisation. OMG! He issued a traveling forbid. OMG! People are held en masse at Newark New York City taxi drivers are boycotting the airport because of the ban! OMG, Uber is profiting on picking up those rides! OMG , now we have to boycott Uber! WTF! He is rounding up immigrants! OMG he is separating families at the border! WTF did Kellyanne Conway simply promote Ivanka Trumps apparel line? Isnt that illegal? WTF! Are Chinese influence-mongers genuinely lining up at Mar-a-Lago to ingratiate themselves with the presidents son-in-law? WTF stripping the EPA of any budget to keep the air and water clean? OMG did he just say he doesnt believe in global warming? There was a creek of statelier edits from Congress, as the nations WTF? reaction evolved into: can he actually do that? Ben Cardin, the Democratic senator for Maryland, proposed a Senate resolution that Pres Trump obey the emoluments clause of the constitution, which forbids bribery( Trump had refused to put his constrains in a blind trust ). States began to pass laws, such as those protection sanctuary cities, to fight back against measures that Trump was taking federally. My day-to-day life was spent at our tech company, DailyClout, developing a group of young person to write about legislation, Congress and statehouses, and putting out news narratives, blogs and opinion pieces following these developments. DailyClout is incubated in a cool space in Manhattan called Civic Hall, which is funded by Microsoft, Google and Omidyar Networks, where we are surrounded by others largely idealistic millennials who are also building arousing new tools for new various kinds of civic engagement.

Month Three: in March, we all began to see a massive grassroots resistance. I personally dont like that term, because you use that word to opposed a completed fascist takeover; it dedicates democracys adversaries too much power; right now we have a battered democracy on life support that needs defending from anyone wishing to pull the plug.

March was the month that dozens of new entities devoted to mobilising citizen action originating from the collective shock. There were so many forms of new organising and funding: online candidate training seminars to Knight Foundation grants for new tools to get public and municipal records to people. Existing civic tech sites such as PopVox and Countable were joined in March by a slew of new tools and sites put together by this powerful wave of activism. Our collective missions got boosted with jet fuel by the huge burst in ordinary citizens wanting and needing to take action. New platforms ranged from 5 Calls which came out of the experience of volunteers in the Clinton campaign and which sends you political action steps to take in five phone calls to DailyAction, a similar service, which emerged out of Creative Majority, a Pac that supports Democratic nominees, and USAFacts, set up by Steve Ballmer, formerly of Microsoft, which compiles and crunches federal, nation and local data from government sources. My own life mission didnt reorient, since I had cofounded DailyClouts platform in 2010. But utilize of our civic engagement tools skyrocketed. Our first product, called BillCam, lets you search a database of live country and federal bills, then pop a live bill into your blog or news articles; it lets you interact with the bills in real day and share them socially. We also made RSS feeds to stream live state and federal legislation right into the websites of local, regional and national news sites, and the websites of elected officials. In March we boosted our blog stream and videos covering new nation and federal legislation, and started to report on what people could do locally to push forward their issues. Our sites on social media grew by triple and quadruple digits.

Protesters
Protesters against Trumps travel ban order outside JFK Airport, 30 January. Photo: Xinhua/ Barcroft Images

I presented these tools in March to news outlets and candidates and campaigns around the country from Maine to Ohio to Oregon. I felt as if I was rediscovering my own nation, as the people in it were rediscovering belatedly how precious and fragile republic was, and how much it depends on an informed citizenship. We were invited to demo it in a senate office; we visited Congress too, for our first exclusive interview, with Representative French Hill of Arkansas; I had never before been inside the Senate office building, or the Congresss Longworth House Office Building. It was uplifting and moving to me. I also insured that elected officials worried about democracy, and wanting to empower real citizens, existed on both sides of the aisle.

We got our widget embedding live bills into news outlets totalling 160 million readers. In Q1 of 2017, 113,000 people searched BillCam to look at bills that would affect them that they could now affect in turn. There are still shocking days missiles to Syria, gunboats to North Korea but we stay focused.

An amazing thing happened in March. The distinguished technologist George Polisner who quit his senior-level role at Oracle in a public letter, encompassed widely in the US press, in which he demurred from Oracles CEOs intention of working with President Trump had started Civ.Works, a social platform, privacy protected so citizens can organise without fear of a corporate-buyout Big Brother. Polisner and DailyClout joined forces in March. Were working to combine Civ.Works power of organising with the power of DailyClouts streaming digital updates via RSS feeds, blogs and video, about local and federal legislation. No wonder I feel aroused about the future.

Am I happy about the current? I feel incredibly energised, hopeful and certain that if enough citizens, in our democracy and worldwide, wake up( as they are) and are able to get hold of real tools to use republic and those best-case tools are now digital and link to social and digital media we can indeed be in the midst of what another chairman called a new birth of liberty. Where I live, every day, on the frontlines of this digital revolution, there is every reason to feel in spired. That doesnt mean I am happy about where the nation is I am highly scared, just as I am frightened about the future of Europe in a parallel assault on its democracies.

But the biggest threat in the US or the UK isnt one political party or nominee. It is peoples ignorance about their own democracies and their till-now lack of real-life tools protecting children. DailyClout UK and DailyClout EU are next on our list of planned launches: the UK legislative database is entirely unsearchable, and the UK Parliaments own website ends in dead connects when you try to find actual legislation. The EU website tells you with difficulty what bills have passed but doesnt indicate you what is coming up, when you might possibly take action it offers a feed of pointless press releases instead. This lack of legislative transparency and usability had a lot to do, I believe, with the Brexit vote.

Months Four, Five and Six will see more and more of these tools from dozens of T-shirt-clad bespectacled tech revolutionaries, coming online. Geeks are the new patriots, and code is the new shot heard round the world.

Naomi Wolf lately finished a PhD at the University of Oxford and is CEO of DailyClout.io

May Boeve, environmental campaigner and director of 350. org: We will take power back. And when that happens, we need a very bold agenda

May
May Boeve photographed in Dumbo Brooklyn: Were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Photograph: Christopher Lane for the Observer

As soon as we sang the first chorus of the hymn, the tears started. Here I go again, I guessed, screaming in church. This was three weeks ago. And the week before, and the week before that, all the way back to last Novembers election.

Sudden emotional outbursts are how Im able to understand what Donald Trumps presidency means to me. I wasnt disconnected to these emotions before, but its the unexpected and potent nature that has changed.

Im in no immediate hazard from the Trump presidency. Im not fearing expulsion, the loss of my healthcare, a racially motivated apprehend. I havent been personally attacked online or in the real world. So when I get scared and start crying, I wonder what it would feel like to be in that more vulnerable position, and Im more distressed by the damage being done.

My lens on Trump stems from work in the climate motion. My vantage point is as executive director of 350. org, a global effort to build a social movement that can confront the power of the fossil-fuel industry and accelerate our transition to 100% renewable energy.

Trump stands in direct opposition to those goals. As president, he has wholeheartedly taken the side of the petroleum, coal, and gas industry and is already watching to it that their agenda is legislated. Previous US presidents and nominees also did business with this industry, but at the same time they denounced the threat of climate destabilisation, worked actively to secure international diplomatic alliances leading to an agreement, and achieved some progress from the executive branch.

Before Trumps election, the climate motion had made some serious advance. Thanks to the good work of movements around the world, the social licence of this industry is on the decline. Investors are pulling their dollars, banks are cancelling loans, and public is supportive of fossil-fuel companies is low.

Ditto for the politicians who back them up. Take congressman Lamar Smith of Texas : 45% of his constituents , not unacquainted with his ties to the oil industry, were less inclined to vote for Smith when as chair of the house science committee he failed to investigate ExxonMobils alleged climate cover-up.( 350. org is under subpoena from Smiths office for our efforts to get the truth out about Exxon .) From the political arena to our energy markets, it felt like the tide was ultimately beginning to turn in our direction.

But then along came Donald Trump to declare climate change a hoax( the only head of state in the world to do so ), promising to revive the coal industry( declining in the US, thanks to terrific organising ), and appointing known climate-change deniers to head the very offices responsible for regulating the problem.

When Trump won, a new kind of desperation settled over climate activists. Were fairly accustomed to despair already climate sorrow circles have started up in Australia, home to devastating heatwaves, fires, drought, and a basically decimated Great Barrier Reef but this felt like something new.

One week after the election, I was at a collect with motion leaders across the faith, labour, LGBTQ and reproductive justice movements. We were each asked to write down one hard truth about the election that we hadnt yet said out loud. One person wrote: The small window of day we had to dramatically reduce emissions may have just closed.

At the very time when we need to be taking great leapings forward, Trump and his allies are dragging us backwards with an ideology that puts corporate power above all else and youd be hard pressed to find a decide of corporations more desperate to hold on to power than the likes of Exxon, Chevron and numerous coal and gas companies with less brand recognition.

At least now theres no mystery about what were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Two examples register highly on that score. The first is the appointment of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. The second is the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The
A successful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline slated to drill beneath the Missouri River and through sacred Sioux grounds has been reversed by Trump Photograph: DDP USA/ Rex/ Shutterstock

The Tillerson appointment stands out because even the most cynical and pessimistic among us didnt predict that a person at the pinnacle of big petroleum would be in charge of diplomacy in the Trump regime. As my colleague Bill McKibben has said, you might as well ask Ronald McDonald to head up the Department of Agriculture. And Exxon isnt just any oil company: it has concealed what it knew about climate change, as early as the late 1970 s, in order to continue making money on a product it knew was wrecking the planet. It money climate-denying thinktanks and retained the same firms that helped tobacco companies claim that nicotine isnt addictive. It should be bad enough to have the entire cabinet made up of the 1 %, but the state post provides Tillerson and Exxon with far too much temptation to officially use the US foreign policy apparatus to keep extracting more oil.

The night I considered that Trump indicated Tillerson for the post, I burst into tears and crawled into bed. It was a feeling close to panic, in recognition of what might happen and how powerless I felt. Thank goodness Im part of a big team, some of whom love battle and were quick to start writing and rendering statements denouncing his appointment. Reports came out last week that of all the cabinet members, Tillerson is doing the best chore maintaining a close relationship to the president. Because this man is used to operating in privacy, well have to stay vigilant to understand the moves hell be making.

Then there is the remarkable narrative about the Dakota Access pipeline and the historic resistance at Standing Rock. At no other day has there been this much widespread opposition to a pipeline, for the many reasons pipelines merit our opposition. This represented an alliance of tribes whose rights, subsistences and lives have been systematically desecrated by the US government and firms. The camp at Standing Rock itself was a symbol of everything Trumpism cannot be: spiritually grounded, connected to history and land, fundamentally respectful of the rights of nature and peoples, infused with art and music and heart. It moved people to act in solidarity all over the world. Many moved fund out of the banks invested in the project.

And the resistance ran. The forces at Standing Rock peacefully made sure that the Obama administration put a stop to the construction and allowed further review of the pipelines viability.

So it was with cruelty the same cruelty seen in the enactment of the Muslim travel ban and the gamble with the healthcare of 24 million people that Trump signed an executive order to begin construction immediately. At the end of March, oil began to flow through the pipeline. This is why Im still weeping in church. The minute I start to feel numb, I believe Ill lose some hope and resolve.

And there is another animating objective. Progressives share so much, but so often our human nature and lopsided structures get in the way. Can we use this moment to be honest with one another in a new and different way, and clear up longstanding disagreements and inequalities that enable us to be aligned behind a common vision? Because I believe we will take power back. And when that happens, we need to legislate a very bold agenda that propels political prospects far, far away from where Trump has dragged them.

This work is already under way: its the work of dialogues between unions and environmentalists; big, well-funded international organizations and smaller grassroots ones; centrist and more radical activists; and those who believe change comes from disrupting unjust laws and those whose work is to pass just ones.

Its the work of the Peoples Climate March, which will take place on Saturday, 29 April in Washington DC and throughout the rest of the country. Its message aspires to the future were trying to build, and its being organised by a diverse cross-section of the entire movement.

That tearful day in church ended on a high note. Afterwards, some friends and I went to New Yorks MoMA PS1 museum to see the Rev Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou perform. Rev Sekou is a Pentecostal minister, an author and a gospel and blues musician, who has been active in the Movement for Black Lives. Yes, I went to church twice that day, and no, that isnt the norm for me! And where reference is sang What a time to be alive, the revolution has come, I didnt feel like crying I felt like getting back to work.

Alicia Garza, co-founder, Black Lives Matter: We are in for a long fight and not all of us will make it

Alicia
Alicia Garza: The resistance is real. Photograph: Kristin Little

20 January 2017 marked a turning point for the entire world. Since the outcome of the elections were announced on 8 November 2016 Id been feeling mostly numb, unable to process what potential impacts would be for me, my family and the person or persons I care about. I felt the need to be quiet, to be somewhere quiet. To have space to think.

Every step I took felt like walking on eggshells. The first few weeks after the election everyone around me seemed to be unsure, fearful and riddled with anxiety. I was too. Quick to lash out, slacken to listen. I had nothing to start from except what Id heard during the campaign.

And yet, at the same time, I did know what was coming. Perhaps somewhere my cells were reorganising to protect my heart from what was inevitable. More suffering, more uncertainty. More people dying for trying to live. During the campaign, the surrogates for our current president unabashedly attacked Black Lives Matter activists as terrorists and cop murderers. In the aftermath of the election, there were many different answers. Some decided to continue their work as before and felt that not much had changed. Others decided to demonstrate their resistance by doing a direct action at the inauguration. Others shared information about the key players in the incoming administration, attempting to support others in the network to understand more clearly the new political agenda. All of us remain committed to the work of black liberation.

During the holidays, my family and I talked over dinner about personal security. I described to them a new set of protocols we would need to begin using in order to ensure our safety, insofar as that was even possible. My parents described their anxiety of what was to come. A lawsuit filed by a rabid conservative former district attorney hung over our heads as someone charged us and other activists with starting a race war. Indeed, the election of Donald Trump was just a nuclear plume slowly rising over the United States.

What Ive learned in the first 100 days of this administration is that you can never stop dreaming about freedom. Ive spent the past few months being relatively quiet. Listening. Brushing up on my reading about the right wing in the United States and the movement it has been diligently constructing for the past 30 years. Ive taken to business practices of listening more and also listening less. Listening more to whats not being said, watching as the various factions on the right joust for power and influence. Ive taken stock of the damage, as the right wing now controls the presidency, the supreme court, Congress and the majority of state parliaments. Listening less to voices that refuse to deal with our political reality as it actually is, as opposed to how they want it to be.

The low phases over the past few months have been many. Executive order after executive order that sought to punish the communities that induce America great Muslims, undocumented immigrants, black people, females, faggot communities, transgender people. A law and order agenda that seeks to criminalise anyone who disagrees with the administrations aims. An attorney general who refuses to protect each person equally. A secretary of education who seeks to privatise public education. A secretary of housing and urban development who seeks to slash an already paper-thin budget for housing set aside for those living in poverty. A chief strategist with white supremacist leaningswho is responsible not just for advising the president, but who, to all intents and purposes, is the one pushing the many decisions that this so-called chairman espouses on television. And of course, the recent bombings of Syria and Afghanistan. Certainly, we are in for a long oppose and not all of us will make it.

A
A Protest against proposed Republican legislation that would change Medicaid funding, New York. Photograph: Justin Lane/ EPA

I comfort my mothers who are concerned about the state of their healthcare. Theyre both in their 60 s and have recently retired. And so, while the Affordable Care Act isnt perfect, it is what they have and it is what they depend on. And it is what they deserve, what every human being on this Earth deserves to be cared for.

And yet I am hopeful. The disorganisation of our political scenery offers abundant opportunities for new strategies and a transformation in the way we care for each other. I greet the opportunity to be closer to my neighbours, to fight for myself, my family and my loved ones with every fiber of my being. Inside of the quiet, the cynicism dissipates. We have no choice other than to fight back, to take back what was always flawed but still holds the promise of what could be.

I remember that the resistance is real and it lives. The day before the president is inaugurated, I join more than a million women in the street of Washington, DC ; for many, this was their first time on a demo. When the president followed orders from his chief strategist to institute a travel prohibition on Muslims, airports were shut down by those fighting for republic and those caught in the crosshairs of such a ridiculous endeavor were given legal subsistence and reunited with their families. I work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a prominent voice and political vehicle for the millions of domestic workers in the United States who are still excluded from most federal labour protections and so when the president initially nominated a man for secretary of labour who was known for his opposition to workers rights, we participated in the resistance to stop him from being confirmed. Representatives returned to their home districts and were forced to face their constituents in ways that they havent had to in decades.

And so, while there are many challenges to overcome, it is good to know that we are not alone in attempting to find the solutions necessary to save our lives and the lives of millions who are vulnerable not only in the United States, but around the world. Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance. Im happy to know which side Im on.

Linda Tirado, writer on poverty: My instinct is to set off around the country asking impertinent questions

Linda
Linda Tirado photographed in Washington, DC: At least I have fertile land and a defensible perimeter. Photograph: Scott Suchman for the Observer

I live in the heart of Trump country, in Meigs County, Ohio, a rural county struggling with poverty and addiction. My neighbours are precisely the people the right wing have been preying on and propagandising while the left abandoned them for decades. I wasnt awfully surprised to find Clinton had lost. Id just published a column in the Guardian about why so many people would be voting for Trump. But I sob on election night and then get well and truly drunk, because I didnt want to think about what was coming next.

My household is bracing of natural disasters. I wrote a volume, Hand to Mouth , about what a precarious life feels like, but this is the first time Ive felt precarity coming in my bones and also “ve had enough” income to assuage my dreads of: not enough food , not enough warmth , not sufficient anything on hand to deal with situations of emergency. I have a garden, as anyone in the country does, but we got serious about it after the election. This is the first year Ive thought that food costs will spike enough to make it worth focusing on the garden as a food source , not just a pastime. Increased immigration raids will likely leave food rotting in the fields and shipping costs will probably go up as they do during periods of uncertainty; imported food will be more expensive.

And the more the country talked about Russia, the more sense it made to expand the plans we had for a few tomatoes and beans to include asparagus and maybe some root veggies because theyll keep just fine. The logic: oil and power expenses tend to spike when Russias doing a thing and were bombing the Middle East. Then we thought: maybe berry shrubs. A few fruit trees. And a herb patch. And perhaps we should borrow a tiller at this phase or buy one? Just now, Im mapping out two weeks of my schedule around harvest time so I can be home to do the food preservation. Were not about freeze-dried food storage yet; right now people are still only joking about nukes.

Besides, these sections of the countrys turning into a rainforest. A decade ago this part of Ohio didnt reach such high temperature. Now summers are lush and humid, while wintertimes are becoming harsher. So its not such a bad idea, if you happen to have the land and the time to get the work done, to be working on sustainability. Partially thats environmentalism, but its an economic consideration too. Its a thing we talk about over dinner at home or with friends. We also talk about power. Electricity is expensive, so is heating petroleum, and gas aint free either. Power will merely get more expensive as regulations are rolled back and the market is left to its own devices. Water is already a scarce commodity. Might as well put in some solar panels if you can afford it.

I expended the weeks between the election and the inauguration mostly glued to Twitter. I tried to help people reason through what had just happened. I impatiently explained the philosophical and historical definition of fascism versus the hyperbolic version. I demanded we all grow up and focus on the important stuff: not what had happened, but what was coming. My audience grew and split into groups people who liked my satirical round-ups of the incoming administrations peccadilloes, people who liked that I discussed the reasons we were vulnerable to a demagogue, people who just wanted someone to explain what the fuck is had happened.

I started taking more note of political conversation I hear around me, too, here in rural Ohio, where they went for Trump hard. Consensus seemed to be constructing that voting Trump hadnt ran but as it was a last-ditch try anyway, it was worth waiting to see. Nobody quite agreed on what he was supposed to have done or, instead, there were a lot of things. Largely, he was supposed to have interrupted everything but not exactly like this. He needed to get off that stupid Twitter, anyway, everyone agreed on that. I keep wondering what these people didnt learn from the Tea Party.

Once the inauguration was over, I largely discontinue trying to explain anything to anyone online; emotion was riding too high and we were back to violating news instead of analysis and I was scheming a garden, so I started joking that no matter what happened, at the least I had fertile land and a defensible perimeter. When the children werent listening, we talked about what guns to buy.

In-N-Out Burger beefs up its promise of antibiotic-free meat

The burger chain is joining a small group of fast food eateries commiting to utilizing antibiotic-free meat

In-N-Out Burger has long defined itself apart with its refusal to use frozen meat, microwaves and heating lamps, and a focus on higher-quality, freshly stimulated food. But it hasnt stood out in addressing a big public health concern about the tie-in between narcotics employed routinely to raise livestock and the increasing number of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans.

Thats changing. The burger purveyor recently announced it will join the small but growing number of fast food chains working to switching away from meat raised with antibiotics developed for humans.

Our company is committed to beef that is not raised with antibiotics important to human medication and weve asked our suppliers to accelerate their progress toward establishing antibiotic alternatives, Keith Brazeau, In-N-Out Burgers vice president of quality, said in a statement last week.

The commitment is significant for a fast-food chain that uses beef as its only choice of meat for burgers. The private company has yet to disclose the timeline for making the switching or the decisions financial impact, which is often an important consideration for a business that seeks to change key ingredients in the food it serves.

In-N-Outs commitment came in response to a letter, signed by a coalition of over 50 environmental, animal welfare and consumer groups, exhorting the chain to stop using beef from farms that use antibiotics regularly. But the move could also be a strategy by the California-based company to stay ahead of a state effort to restrict antibiotic use on farms.

I think they recognize that In-N-Out customers truly do care about quality, and in order to maintain their brand as a quality burger, they need to lead on this issue, said Kari Hamerschlag, senior program director at Friends of the Earth, which is part of the coalition.

Cattle ranchers and poultry farmers routinely mix antibiotics in feed to prevent illness or make animals grow faster and bigger. However, most drugs employed are or were “ve been meaning to” cure humen. In fact, roughly 70% of the antibiotics developed for human use are now used on farms, said Jean Halloran, director of food policy initiatives at the Consumers Union, an advocacy group.

The practice has come under attack from scientists and customer proponents in recent years because it contributes to a rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria, according to a 2013 report by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention( CDC ). Overall, at least 2 million people in the US become sick from drug-resistant bacteria, and more than 23,000 of them die from those infections every year, the CDC said.

The Food and Drug Administration( FDA) has also begun to regulate antibiotics use in farm animals, though critics say the agency isnt doing enough. Several big poultry producers, such as Perdue Farms and Tyson Food, have promised to reduce or ditch antibiotics use. Major fast food chains, such as McDonalds and Chick-fil-A, have vowed to use poultry from farms that use no antibiotics or limit the drug use significantly.

McDonalds including with regard to pledged last March to do away with antibiotics in its chicken and gave itself two years to accomplish that goal. Last fall, Subway perpetrated to stop selling meat raised with antibiotics in all of their sandwiches by 2025. The chain rolled out its first antibiotics-free item, a chicken sandwich, earlier this week.

Meat producers and restaurants arent only making changes to comply with government regulations or address public health dreads. Consumers also have made it clear that they care about this issue. A Consumer Reports survey in 2012 found that 60% of respondents said they would be willing to pay more for meat raised without antibiotics.

But making a switch in meat supplies takes time and money. With over 300 locatings around the Western US and estimated revenues of $625 m in 2012, In-N-Out is a significant beef buyer, though it doesnt disclose its purchase volumes or name its suppliers.

The fact that the company is tight-lipped about its plan to switch to antibiotics-free beef constructs it difficult to figure out the likely expense. In-N-Out said it will no longer buy meat involving antibiotics designed for humans, but its unclear whether that entails it will use meat that has never been treated with the narcotics, or continue to allow producers to treat sick animals. The former is often much more cost-intensive because it involves a longer, grass-based production system.

Paul Griffin, the culinary director for BurgerFi, a Florida-based chain with 67 national locatings that serves entirely antibiotics-free meat, said that type of meat supplying is limited and commands higher prices. Theyre looking at minimum of a 20% increase if they buy the type of meat we use, Griffin said.

Livestock producers have argued that using antibiotics helps them lower the healthcare bills of their animals while boosting their meat production. But research by Ellen Silbergeld, a professor of environmental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and other scientists who looked at data regarding Perdues chicken farms in 2007 showed that financial benefits were negligible.

Its possible that at some point in time there was a real benefit to adding antimicrobials to feed, says Silbergeld. But theyve also changed the way animals are housed and theyve been tinkering with the feed. While there may have been an[ economic] benefit at some phase, there isnt now.

The same conclusion cant be made for creating kine, however, because of a lack of data, Silbergeld said. Cows take much longer to create than chickens and generally require a more complex production system, often involving hour on pasture and in a feedlot. Silbergelds research was at the center of the switching away from result in gasoline in the 1970 s, and she sees similarities in the way many in the industry are fighting the move away from antibiotics based on cost-related claims.

Meanwhile, one of In-N-Outs suppliers, Harris Ranch, said in a statement that In-N-Out Burger has asked us to accelerate the establishment of antibiotic alternatives, toward which we have already built significant steps.

The ranch, which boasts an 800 -acre feedlot and rendered 150 m pounds of beef per year in 2010, didnt say what steps it has taken. It could use other types of drugs to treat diseases and boost growth, or change the kine diet to prevent respiratory and liver related cancers, the two ailments in kine that are typically treated with antibiotics, said Steve Roach, food safety program director at Food Animal Concerns Trust, another member of the coalition that petitioned In-N-Out.

If they want to stop using antibiotics on a routine basis, theyd have to manage the animals diets differently. Basically theyd need to give them more grass, which may be more difficult in California, particularly in drought years, Roach said.

As a California cattle producer, Harris Ranch also faces other pressure to change its use of antibiotics. The state passed a law that will go into effect in January 2018 and restrict the routine employ of antibiotics and require a veterinarians prescription to obtain the medications. Its considers the strictest antibiotic statute in the US by some because it goes beyond the federal regulation, which asks producers to take voluntary measures to reduce the antibiotics used.

Meanwhile, new pressures are also constructing to force restaurant chains to make pledges similar to In-N-Outs. McDonalds, for example, faces demand from some of its shareholders to widen its antibiotic policy to pork and beef.

I think well see more eateries coming on board in the next six months, Hamerschlag said.

Read more: www.theguardian.com

Trump: 100 days that shook the world- and the activists opposing back

Three months in, the future is totally unpredictable. But a dramatic fightback is under way. Four activists tell us how they are adapting to the new normal

Naomi Wolf, writer, political journalist and cofounder of DailyClout: Trump didnt do this. You did this. Your own inactivity brought us precisely here

The first 100 days of President Donald Trump: how has my life changed? First of all, there was the mourning period. Not for me, but for my fellow citizens. I was just mad. And I wasnt even maddest at the Trump voters. I understood that the critical battle lines now are not left versus right, but the 1% neoliberal globalisers stimulating off with all of the pillage and disembowelling the middle class. So when I saw the campaign, I knew that in the US, just as in the UK, a candidate who said anything at all about people forgotten in the neoliberal race would have a solid chance.

No I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. All of January, people on the left would tackle me with dazed, grief-stricken express, as if they had just originating from a multi-car pileup on a foggy road. How could this have happened? What will we do ? I couldnt even bear to participate in those conversations. Eventually I started explaining my fury to my closest friends.

I had been screaming about the possibility of setting up this very moment for eight years, since I publish a piece in the Guardian titled Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps and wrote a book based on it, called The Aim of America ( 2007 ). Under George Bush Jr, the left had been very receptive to the books message about how republics are undermined by the classic tactics of would-be authoritarians.

But once Obama was elected one of ours I had to expend the next eight years screaming like a haunted Cassandra, to a room the left had abandoned. I had screamed myself hoarse for eight years under Obama about what it would mean for us to sit still while Obama sent dronings in to take out US citizens in extrajudicial killings; what it would mean for us to sit still while he passed the 2012 National Defence Authorisation Act that let any president hold citizens for ever without charge or trial; what it would mean for us to sit still while he allowed NSA surveillance, let Guantnamo to stay open, and allowed hyped terrorism narratives to hijack the constitution and turn the US into what ultimately even Robert F Kennedy Jr was calling a national security surveillance country.

Naomi
Naomi Wolf, photographed last week at Stony Brook University, NY: I was mad at my own leftwing tribe. Photo: Christopher Lane for the Observer

For eight years, under Obama, my audiences were libertarian cowboys and red-state truckers; members of the military and police forces, who were appalled by what they were witnessing; and even conservatives, worried about our legacy of freedom. My usual audience, the shoppers at Whole Foods and drivers of hybrid vehicles, the educated left, my people, sat smugly at home while the very pillars of American democracy were being consistently chipped away. They were watching Downton Abbey and tending their heirloom tomato patches on weekends in the Hudson Valley, because everything was OK; yeah, he may OK drone strikes, but they cant be that bad, since he was one of ours a handsome, eloquent African American, a former community organiser in the Oval Office. Seduced by the image of a charming black man on Air Force One who talked about change a white woman in a pantsuit( though highly pay back Goldman Sachs) talking about that highest, hardest glass ceiling the left slumbered while US democracy was undone brick by brick by brick.

So my feeling, the first inaugural month of 2017, as the left sat shiva, was: now you are worried? Now you want action? Now that the separation of powers is a joke and the constitution has collapsed around your ears, you point a finger at Trump and say, Sudden Catastrophe?

He didnt do this. You did this.

Your own inaction and willingness to be seduced by two-bit identity politics labels, without actually doing the hard work of being patriots and defending the actual constitution brought us precisely, precisely here.

I had sought for eight years to explain to my own people, to no avail, this: “its not” that important who sits in the White House if the structures of republic are strong. If the structures of democracy are strong you can have a madman or madwoman for four years or even eight, and then he or she is gone, and the nations liberties live.

But if you take an eight-year nap snoozing through a systematic dismantling of the structures of republic freedoms of speech; freedom of the press; separation of powers; fourth amendment rights to privacy; and allow the suspension of due process under the guise of fighting the war on terror hell yeah, some day you will wake up and there will be a crazy man or a strongman in the White House and then nothing you do or say will make a difference any more.

So yeah, Month One: I had nightly glass of red wine to dull my rage at my own feeble delusional kind, and avoided the collective liberal mourning conversation.

Month Two: February was the month of OMG! Or else, WTF! I was part of it too, as Pres Trumps new-to-us-all methods of explosion Twitter bombs, engaging in scary political theater, perpetrating daily acts of apparent, um, economic treason, and doing it all at a bewilderingly fast pace, demanded a learning curve from us all. It was a sense of chaos, destabilisation. OMG! He issued a travel prohibition. OMG! People are held en masse at Newark New York City taxi drivers are boycotting the airport because of the ban! OMG, Uber is profiting on picking up those rides! OMG , now we have to boycott Uber! WTF! He is rounding up immigrants! OMG he is separating families at the border! WTF did Kellyanne Conway merely promote Ivanka Trumps clothing line? Isnt that illegal? WTF! Are Chinese influence-mongers genuinely lining up at Mar-a-Lago to ingratiate themselves with the presidents son-in-law? WTF stripping the EPA of any budget to keep the air and water clean? OMG did he just say he doesnt believes in global warming? There was a creek of statelier edits from Congress, as the nations WTF? reaction developing into: can he really do that? Ben Cardin, the Democratic senator for Maryland, proposed a Senate resolution that Pres Trump obey the emoluments clause of the constitution, which forbids bribery( Trump had refused to set his holds in a blind trust ). States began to pass laws, such as those protection sanctuary cities, to fight back against measures that Trump was taking federally. My day-to-day life was spent at our tech company, DailyClout, developing a group of young people to write about legislation, Congress and statehouses, and putting out news stories, blogs and sentiment pieces following these developments. DailyClout is incubated in a cool space in Manhattan called Civic Hall, which is funded by Microsoft, Google and Omidyar Networks, where we are surrounded by others mostly idealistic millennials who are also constructing exciting new tools for new kinds of civic engagement.

Month Three: in March, we all began to see a massive grassroots resistance. I personally dont like that word, because you use that word to opposed a completed fascist takeover; it gives democracys adversaries too much power; right now we have a battered democracy on life supporting that it was necessary to defending from anyone wishing to pull the plug.

March was the month that dozens of new entities devoted to mobilising citizen action originating from the collective shock. There were so many forms of new organising and funding: online candidate training seminars to Knight Foundation grants for new tools to get public and municipal records to people. Existing civic tech sites such as PopVox and Countable were joined in March by a slew of new tools and sites put together by this powerful wave of activism. Our collective missions got boosted with jet fuel by the huge burst in ordinary citizens wanting and shall be required to take action. New platforms ranged from 5 Calls which came out of the experience of volunteers in the Clinton campaign and which sends you political action steps to take in five phone calls to DailyAction, a similar service, which emerged out of Creative Majority, a Pac that supports Democratic candidates, and USAFacts, put in by Steve Ballmer, formerly of Microsoft, which compiles and crunches federal, country and local data from government sources. My own life mission didnt reorient, since I had cofounded DailyClouts platform in 2010. But use of our civic engagement tools skyrocketed. Our first product, called BillCam, lets you search a database of live state and federal bills, then pop a live bill into your blog or news articles; it lets you interact with the bills in real hour and share them socially. We also created RSS feeds to stream live country and federal legislation right into the websites of local, regional and national news sites, and the websites of elected officials. In March we boosted our blog creek and videos covering new state and federal legislation, and started to report on what people could do locally to push forward their issues. Our sites on social media was increased by triple and quadruple digits.

Protesters
Protesters against Trumps travel ban order outside JFK Airport, 30 January. Photo: Xinhua/ Barcroft Images

I presented these tools in March to news outlets and nominees and campaigns around the country from Maine to Ohio to Oregon. I felt as if I was rediscovering my own nation, as the person or persons in it were rediscovering belatedly how precious and fragile democracy was, and how much it depends on an informed citizenship. We were invited to demo it in a senate office; we visited Congress too, for our first exclusive interview, with Representative French Hill of Arkansas; I had never before been inside the Senate office building, or the Congresss Longworth House Office Building. It was uplifting and moving to me. I also assured that elected official worried about republic, and wanting to empower real citizens, existed on both sides of the aisle.

We got our widget embedding live bills into news outlets totalling 160 million readers. In Q1 of 2017, 113,000 people searched BillCam to look at bills that would affect them that they could now affect in turn. There are still shocking days missiles to Syria, gunboats to North Korea but we stay focused.

An amazing thing happened in March. The distinguished technologist George Polisner who quit his senior-level role at Oracle in a public letter, covered widely in the US press, in which he demurred from Oracles CEOs intention of working with President Trump had started Civ.Works, a social platform, privacy protected so citizens can organise without dread of a corporate-buyout Big brother. Polisner and DailyClout joined forces in March. Were working to combine Civ.Works power of organising with the power of DailyClouts streaming digital updates via RSS feeds, blogs and video, about local and federal legislation. No wonder I feel excited about the future.

Am I happy about the present? I feel incredibly energised, hopeful and certain that if enough citizens, in our republic and worldwide, wake up( because this is) and are able to get hold of real tools to use democracy and those best-case tools are now digital and link to social and digital media we can indeed be in the midst of what another chairman called a new birth of freedom. Where I live, every day, on the frontlines of this digital revolution, there is every reason to feel in spired. That doesnt entail I am happy about where the nation is I am highly scared, just as I am scared about the future of Europe in a parallel assault on its democracies.

But the biggest threat in the US or the UK isnt one political party or nominee. It is peoples ignorance about their own democracies and their till-now lack of real-life tools protecting children. DailyClout UK and DailyClout EU are next on our listing of planned launches: the UK legislative database is totally unsearchable, and the UK Parliaments own website ends in dead connects when you try to find actual legislation. The EU website tells you with difficulty what bills have passed but doesnt demonstrate you what is coming up, when you might possibly take action it offers a feed of pointless press releases instead. This lack of legislative transparency and usability had a lot to do, I believe, with the Brexit vote.

Months Four, Five and Six will see more and more of these tools from dozens of T-shirt-clad bespectacled tech revolutionaries, coming online. Geeks are the new patriots, and code is the new shot heard round the world.

Naomi Wolf lately finished a PhD at the University of Oxford and is CEO of DailyClout.io

May Boeve, environmental campaigner and director of 350. org: We will take power back. And when that happens, we need a very bold agenda

May
May Boeve photographed in Dumbo Brooklyn: Were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Photograph: Christopher Lane for the Observer

As soon as we sang the first chorus of the hymn, the tears started. Here I go again, I believed, screaming in church. This was three weeks ago. And the week before, and the week before that, all the way back to last Novembers election.

Sudden emotional outbursts are how Im able to understand what Donald Trumps presidency means to me. I wasnt disconnected to these feelings before, but its the unexpected and potent nature that has changed.

Im in no immediate peril from the Trump presidency. Im not fearing expulsion, the loss of my healthcare, a racially motivated apprehend. I havent been personally attacked online or in the real world. So when I get scared and start crying, I wonder what it would feel like to be in that more vulnerable position, and Im more distressed by the damage being done.

My lens on Trump stems from work in the climate motion. My vantage point is as executive director of 350. org, a global effort to build a social movement that they are able confront the power of the fossil-fuel the enterprises and accelerate our transition to 100% renewable energy.

Trump stands in direct opposition to those goals. As chairman, he has wholeheartedly taken the side of the petroleum, coal, and gas industry and is already assuring to it that their agenda is enacted. Previous US presidents and candidates also did business with this industry, but at the same time they condemned the threat of climate destabilisation, worked actively to secure international diplomatic confederations leading to an agreement, and achieved some progression from the executive branch.

Before Trumps election, the climate motion had made some serious progress. Thanks to the good work of movements around the world, the social licence of this industry is on the deterioration. Investors are pulling their dollars, banks are cancelling loans, and public is supportive of fossil-fuel companies is low.

Ditto for the legislators who back them up. Take congressman Lamar Smith of Texas : 45% of his constituents , not unacquainted with his ties to the oil industry, were less inclined to vote for Smith when as chair of the house science committee he failed to investigate ExxonMobils alleged climate cover-up.( 350. org is under subpoena from Smiths office for our efforts to get the truth out about Exxon .) From the political arena to our energy marketplaces, it felt like the tide was ultimately beginning to turn in our direction.

But then along came Donald Trump to proclaim climate change a hoax( the only head of state in the world to do so ), promising to revive the coal industry( declining in the US, thanks to terrific organising ), and appointing known climate-change deniers to head the very offices responsible for regulating the problem.

When Trump won, a new kind of despair resolved over climate activists. Were pretty accustomed to despair already climate heartbreak circles have started up in Australia, home to devastating heatwaves, flames, drought, and a basically decimated Great Barrier Reef but this felt like something new.

One week after the election, I was at a collect with movement leaders across the faith, labour, LGBTQ and reproductive justice movements. We were each asked to write down one hard truth about the election that we hadnt yet said out loud. One person wrote: The small window of day we had to dramatically reduce emissions may have just closed.

At the very day when we need to be taking great leapings forward, Trump and his allies are dragging us backwards with an ideology that puts corporate power above all else and youd be hard pressed to find a situated of corporations more desperate to hold on to power than the likes of Exxon, Chevron and numerous coal and gas companies with less brand recognition.

At least now theres no mystery about what were up against: the full political might of the fossil-fuel industry. Two instances register highly on that rating. The first is the appointment of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. The second is the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline.

The
A successful protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline slated to drill beneath the Missouri River and through sacred Sioux grounds has been reversed by Trump Photograph: DDP USA/ Rex/ Shutterstock

The Tillerson appointment stands out because even the most cynical and pessimistic among us didnt predict that a person at the spire of big petroleum would be in charge of diplomacy in the Trump regime. As my colleague Bill McKibben has said, you might as well ask Ronald McDonald to head up the Department of Agriculture. And Exxon isnt merely any petroleum company: it has concealed what it knew about climate change, as early as the late 1970 s, in order to continue making money on a product it knew was wrecking countries around the world. It funded climate-denying thinktanks and retained the same firms that helped tobacco companies claim that nicotine isnt addictive. It should be bad enough to have the entire cabinet made up of the 1 %, but the nation post provides Tillerson and Exxon with far too much temptation to officially use the US foreign policy apparatus to keep extracting more oil.

The night I saw that Trump indicated Tillerson for the post, I burst into tears and crawled into bed. It was a feeling close to panic, in recognition of what might happen and how powerless I felt. Thank goodness Im part of a big team, some of whom love battle and were quick to start writing and making statements denouncing his appointment. Reports came out last week that of all the cabinet members, Tillerson is doing the best job maintaining a close relationship to the president. Because this human is used to operating in secrecy, well have to stay vigilant to understand the moves hell be making.

Then there is the remarkable tale about the Dakota Access pipeline and the historic resistance at Standing Rock. At no other hour has there been this much widespread opposition to a gas pipeline, for the many reasons pipelines merit our opponent. This represented an alliance of tribes whose rights, livelihoods and lives have been systematically desecrated by the US government and corporations. The camp at Standing Rock itself was a symbol of everything Trumpism cannot be: spiritually grounded, connected to history and land, basically respectful of the rights of nature and peoples, infused with arts and music and heart. It moved people to act in solidarity all over the world. Many moved money out of the banks invested in the project.

And the resistance worked. The forces at Standing Rock peacefully made sure that the Obama administration put a stop to the construction and allowed further review of the pipelines viability.

So it was with cruelty the same cruelty seen in the enactment of the Muslim travel ban and the gamble with the healthcare of 24 million people that Trump signed an executive order to begin construction immediately. At the end of March, oil began to flow through the pipeline. This is why Im still screaming in church. The minute I start to feel numb, I believe Ill lose some hope and resolve.

And there is another animating objective. Progressives share so much, but so often our human nature and lopsided structures get in the way. Can we use this moment to be honest with each other in a new and different route, and clear up longstanding disagreements and inequalities that enable us to be aligned behind a common vision? Because I believe we will take power back. And when that happens, we need to legislate a very bold agenda that propels political possibilities far, far away from where Trump has dragged them.

This work is already under way: its the work of dialogues between unions and environmentalists; big, well-funded organisations and smaller grassroots ones; centrist and more radical activists; and those who believe change comes from disrupting unjust laws and those whose work is to pass simply ones.

Its the work of the Peoples Climate March, which will take place on Saturday, 29 April in Washington DC and throughout the rest of the country. Its message aspires to the future were trying to build, and its being organised by a diverse cross-section of the entire movement.

That tearful day in church aimed on a high note. Afterwards, some friends and I went to New Yorks MoMA PS1 museum to see the Rev Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou perform. Rev Sekou is a Pentecostal minister, an writer and a gospel and blues musician, who has been active in the Movement for Black Lives. Yes, I went to church twice that day, and no, that isnt the norm for me! And when he sing What a time to be alive, the revolution has come, I didnt feel like exclaiming I felt like getting back to work.

Alicia Garza, co-founder, Black Lives Matter: We are in for a long fight and not all of us will make it

Alicia
Alicia Garza: The resistance is real. Photo: Kristin Little

20 January 2017 marked a turning point for the entire world. Since the election results were announced on 8 November 2016 Id been feeling mostly numb, unable to process what the impact would be for me, my family and the people I care about. I felt the need to be quiet, to be somewhere quiet. To have space to think.

Every step I took felt like walking on eggshells. The first few weeks after the election everyone around me seemed to be unsure, fearful and riddled with nervousnes. I was too. Quick to lash out, slow to listen. I had nothing to start from except what Id heard during the campaign.

And yet, at the same time, I did know what was coming. Perhaps somewhere my cells were reorganising to protect my heart from what was inevitable. More suffering, more uncertainty. More people dying for trying to live. During the campaign, the surrogates for our current president unabashedly attacked Black Lives Matter activists as terrorists and policeman killers. In the aftermath of the election, there were many different reactions. Some decided to continue their work as before and felt that not much had changed. Others decided to demonstrate their resistance by doing a direct action at the inauguration. Others shared information about the key players in the incoming administration, attempting to support others in the network to understand more clearly the new political agenda. All of us remain committed to the work of black liberation.

During the holidays, my family and I talked over dinner about personal security. I described to them a new situate of protocols we would need to begin using in order to ensure our safety, insofar as that was even possible. My mothers described their anxiety of what was to come. A suit filed by a rabid conservative former district attorney hung over our heads as someone charged us and other activists with starting a race war. Indeed, the election of Donald Trump was like a nuclear plume slowly rising over the United States.

What Ive learned in the first 100 days of the authorities concerned is that you can never stop dreaming about freedom. Ive expended the past few months being relatively quiet. Listening. Brushing up on my reading about the right wing in the United States and the movement it has been diligently building for the past 30 years. Ive taken to business practices of listening more and also listening less. Listening more to whats not being said, watching as the various factions on the right joust for power and influence. Ive taken stock of the damage, as the right wing now controls the presidency, the supreme court, Congress and the majority of state parliaments. Listening less to voices that refuse to deal with our political reality as it actually is, as opposed to how they want it to be.

The low points over the past few months have been many. Executive order after executive order that sought to punish the communities that stimulate America great Muslims, undocumented immigrants, black people, women, faggot communities, transgender people. A law and order agenda that seeks to criminalise anyone who disagrees with the administrations aims. An us attorney general who refuses to protect each person equally. A secretary of education who seeks to privatise public education. A secretary of housing and urban planning who seeks to slash an already paper-thin budget for housing set aside for those living in poverty. A chief strategist with white supremacist tiltedswho is responsible not just for advising the president, but who, to all intents and purposes, is the one pushing the many decisions that this so-called chairwoman espouses on television. And of course, the recent bombings of Syria and Afghanistan. Surely, we find ourselves in for a long battle and not all of us will make it.

A
A Protest against proposed Republican legislation that would change Medicaid funding, New York. Photo: Justin Lane/ EPA

I comfort my mothers who are concerned about the state of their healthcare. Theyre both in their 60 s and have recently retired. And so, while the Affordable Care Act isnt perfect, it is what they have and it is what they depend on. And it is what they deserve, what every human being on this Earth deserves to be cared for.

And yet I am hopeful. The disorganisation of our political scenery offers abundant opportunities for new strategies and a transformation in the way we care for each other. I greet the opportunity to be closer to my neighbours, to fight for myself, my family and my loved ones with every fiber of my being. Inside of the quiet, the cynicism dissipates. We have no choice other than to fight back, to take back what was always flawed but still holds the promise of what could be.

I remember that the resistance is real and it lives. The day before the president is inaugurated, I join more than a million women in the street of Washington, DC ; for many, this was their first time on a demo. When the president followed orders from his chief strategist to institute a travel prohibition on Muslims, airports were shut down by those fighting for republic and those caught in the crosshairs of such a ridiculous endeavor were given legal subsistence and reunited with their families. I work with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a prominent voice and political vehicle for the millions of domestic workers in the United States who are still excluded from most federal labour protections and so when the president initially nominated a human for secretary of labour who was known for his opposition to workers rights, we participated in the resistance to stop him from being confirmed. Representatives returned to their home districts and were forced to face their constituents in ways that they havent had to in decades.

And so, while there are many challenges to overcome, it is good to know that we are not alone in attempting to find the solutions necessary to save our lives and the lives of millions who are vulnerable not only in the United States, but around the world. Wherever there is oppression, there is resistance. Im happy to know which side Im on.

Linda Tirado, novelist on poverty: My instinct is to set off around the country asking impertinent questions

Linda
Linda Tirado photographed in Washington, DC: At least I have fertile land and a defensible perimeter. Photo: Scott Suchman for the Observer

I live in the heart of Trump country, in Meigs County, Ohio, a rural district struggling with poverty and craving. My neighbours are precisely the people the right wing have been preying on and propagandising while the left abandoned them for decades. I wasnt awfully surprised to insure Clinton had lost. Id just published a column in the Guardian about why so many people would be voting for Trump. But I sob on election night and then get well and truly drunk, because I didnt want to think about what was coming next.

My household is bracing of natural disasters. I wrote a book, Hand to Mouth , about what a precarious life feels like, but this is the first time Ive felt precarity coming in my bones and also “ve had enough” income to assuage my anxieties of: not enough food , not sufficient warmth , not enough anything on hand to deal with situations of emergency. I have a garden, as anyone in the country does, but we got serious about it after the election. This is the first year Ive thought that food prices will spike enough to make it worth focusing on the garden as a food source , not just a pastime. Increased immigration raids will likely leave food decompose in the fields and shipping costs will probably go up as they do during periods of uncertainty; imported food will be more expensive.

And the more the country “was talkin about a” Russia, the more sense it made to expand the plans we had for a few tomatoes and beans to include asparagus and maybe some root veggies because theyll keep just fine. The logic: petroleum and power expenses tend to spike when Russias doing a thing and were bombing the Countries of the middle east. Then we believed: perhaps berry shrubs. A few fruit trees. And a herb patch. And perhaps we should borrow a tiller at this phase or buy one? Merely now, Im mapping out two weeks of my schedule around harvest time so I can be home to do the food preservation. Were not about freeze-dried food storage yet; right now people are still merely joking about nukes.

Besides, these sections of the countrys turning into a rainforest. A decade ago this part of Ohio didnt reach such high temperature. Now summertimes are lush and humid, while winters are becoming harsher. So its not such a bad notion, if you happen to have the land and the time to get the work done, to be working on sustainability. Partially thats environmentalism, but its an economic consideration too. Its a thing we talk about over dinner at home or with friends. We also talk about power. Electricity is expensive, so is heating oil, and gas aint free either. Power will only get more expensive as regulations are rolled back and the market is left to its own devices. Water is already a scarce commodity. Might as well put in some solar panel if you are able afford it.

I expended the weeks between the election and the inauguration mostly glued to Twitter. I tried to help people reason through what had just happened. I impatiently explained the philosophical and historic definition of fascism versus the hyperbolic version. I demanded we all grow up and focus on the important stuff: not what had happened, but what was coming. My audience grew and split into groups people who liked my satirical round-ups of the incoming administrations peccadilloes, people who liked that I discussed the reasons we were vulnerable to a demagogue, people who just wanted someone to explain what the fuck is had happened.

I started taking more note of political dialogue I hear around me, too, here in rural Ohio, where they ran for Trump hard. Consensus seemed to be constructing that voting Trump hadnt ran but as it was a last-ditch endeavor anyway, it was worth waiting to see. Nobody quite agreed on what he was supposed to have done or, rather, there were a lot of things. Largely, he was supposed to have interrupted everything but not exactly like this. He needed to get by that stupid Twitter, anyway, everyone agreed on that. I keep wondering what these people didnt learn from the Tea Party.

Once the inauguration was over, I largely discontinue trying to explain anything to anyone online; feeling was riding too high and we were back to transgressing news instead of analysis and I was planning a garden, so I started joking that no matter what happened, at least I had fertile land and a defensible perimeter. When the children werent listening, we talked about what guns to buy.

Land grab in Amazon jungle threatens dispossession, violence and assassination

President Temer is courting the mining companies and their political backers by breaking into pristine rainforest

On 23 August it emerged that the president of Brazil, Michel Temer, had issued a decree abolishing the protected status of an immense area of the Amazon forest. The region is in the north of the country, beyond the Amazon river, going up to the frontiers with French Guiana and Suriname( formerly Dutch Guiana ). The calculated size is 4. 5 million hectares, the size of Denmark or Switzerland.

The decree was shocking, but not entirely unexpected. Temer is in political difficulties, facing corruption charges and needing political allies. There are more than 30 political party in Brazil, and to get anything done in Congress they form bancadas (” benches” or coalitions ). One of the most powerful is the bancada ruralista , consisting of powerful, wealthy agribusiness interests( mostly cattle and soya) together with those who represent mining and other extractive industries. And, inducing things gloomier, the evangelicals attach themselves to this bancada .

For years now the ruralistas have loudly condemned environmental laws that protect the Amazon forest. The national parks protect biological diversity and the “areas indigenas”( Indian reservations) protect the indigenous peoples. The ruralistas want rid of the lot. Specifically, they want to abolish Funai( the Indian Protection Service, a government department) and get rid of, as they set it,” NGOs and anthropologists “. Temer requires the purposes of this bancada and is find to their desires.

Temer attained his move at the end of August, centring on Amapa and the Jari river. Although it is on the Atlantic coast, the nation of Amapa is to many Brazilians as remote as you can get. There is no access by road, except one to the north into French Guiana, still not wholly paved. A mining enterprise called Icomi( Industria e Comercio de Minerios ), a subsidiary of the US company Bethlehem Steel, began extracting manganese in a remote mine from the late 1940 s onwards. Icomi pretty well owned Amapa. In 1973 geologists from Icomi exploring westwards came across uncontacted Indians. They alerted Funai and a squad arrived to establish what was known as an” attraction front”, finding out who these people were and getting them under some sort of control.

They had found the Wayapi people, occupying province that ran wests across a watershed into affluents of the Jari river. It was a kind of resurrection, as their presence in that area had been recorded historically. Their language is of the Tupi-Guarani family. They are excellent gardeners, hunters and fishers. When contact was made the latter are hunting with prows and arrows. Many shotguns were handed out as part of the “attraction” process. Today they are wholly dependent on firearms and ammunition. Fishing with canoes is more important in the west, where waters flowing into the Jari are much richer in fish than the eastern waters that flow into the Atlantic. They practise” slash-and-burn agriculture “, felling trees and burning out the garden region. Bitter manioc is the staple harvest along with a range of potato-like tubers. Bananas, pineapples, and various other fruit are grown. They wear scarlet loincloths and use two various kinds of body paint- urucu( arnotto ), a red, sticky paste, and genipa, a black dye which is applied carefully and dries into patterns which can’t be washed off. Girls build manioc beer, called caxiri , and the social high point is the regular caxiri spree, sometimes accompanied by instead wonderful dances, sometimes only leading to what one might call the usual high spirits.

There was an importance about this contact because the military totalitarianism that took over Brazil( from 1964 to 1985) had embarked on a large programme of road building in the Amazon, the most famous being the “Transamazonica” operating through the centre of the country. The Wayapi were in the way of a planned road called the” Northern Perimetral”, which was to run along the Guiana frontier and all the way to Venezuela. The 1973 petroleum crisis wrecked the Brazilian economy and grandiose strategies had to be abandoned.

The Wayapi had stimulated sporadic the relations with outsiders before this. Some had wandered north and observed a small Brazilian air force base near the Jari river. Those returning from there to their villages brought back devastating diseases- dysentery and measles. Their land had also been invaded on occasion by gold prospectors both from the east side and from the west via the Jari. These contacts always resulted in epidemics, respiratory objections being particularly serious. What might be a slight cold or a coughing to us can be fatal to those with no immunity. When Funai began its operation in 1973 the situation was already precarious.

Funai’s record in its dealings with Brazil’s indigenous people is not good. Chronically underfunded, often poorly staffed, often failing in elementary procedures, careless, offhand, the organisation surely deserves the criticisms it gets. But like so much else in Brazil, muddling through in some way or the other does eventually get some sort of result. In this case it’s clear that had Funai not intervened, the Wayapi would have faced extinction. There were 152 souls in the area in 1974. Now there are more than 1,000. Everyone has muddled through and they’ve made it. And although health programmes may not be particularly good, they are significantly better than the healthcare available to poor Brazilians.

Protecting the health of the Indians goes along with the other priority- protecting their land. During the 1970 s and 80 s gold prospectors continued to enter Wayapi territory. Confrontations sometimes became violent. There was an urgent need to get the land demarcated and recognised with legal protection. Largely through the relentless and indefatigable efforts of an NGO based in Sao Paulo, the Wayapi reserve was legally secured by 1996. The estimated region is about 600,000 hectares.

Muita terra, pouco indio (” much land, few Indians “) is the grumble you hear on the street of local townships from thwarted prospectors. But it’s not just Indian land that’s involved in the crisis. For several years organisations at all levels, municipal, country, and national, have shown remarkable initiative in creating( with legal protection, it should be emphasised) a network of” conservation units” under various headings: national park, areas of ambiental protection, biological reserves, sustainable development reserves, and so on. These now form a continuous block from the Guiana frontier southwards, enveloping the reservations of the Wayapi and the Wayana-Apalai further to the west, dedicating these two reserves extra protection.

But Temer detected Renca. This is the” Reserva Nacional de Cobre e Associados”( National Copper Reserve ), established in 1984 by the military dictatorship , not to protect the environment, but to secure possession of minerals in the area and make sure that the government could control their extraction. This is the targeted area that Temer wants to open. It includes eight” conservation divisions” and the two Indian reserves( Wayapi and Wayana-Apalai ).

A federal judge, Rolando Valcir Spanholo, has blocked Temer’s decision pending consultation by Congress. This cannot be more than a holding move.

The
The Wayapi were facing extinction until a country bureau intervened. Photo: Alan Tormaid Campbell

Why destroy the Amazon forest? Why remove protection from Indian lands? The motive is simply opportunistic greed: “ Enrichissez-vous .” Dressing up the project in economic terms comes close to lying. When the BBC World Service has broken the Renca story on 24 August the commentator ran” over to our business reporter in Hong Kong “. The wisdom from Hong Kong( about the fate of Amapa) was that” the government needs the money” and that the initiative will “create jobs”, and” raise revenue from taxes and royalties “. The idiocy of this response should stimulate comment unnecessary. Devoted that the levels and layers of corruption in Brazilian political life are stupefying, where will the taxes and royalties go? Temer claims that” only a third” of the area is to be opened for mining. Merely? The disruption will be colossal. Frontier violence will spread. Land-grabbing is likely to be rife. And once the process is begin it is very difficult to stop or control. The injury is permanent.

It is also claimed that the indigenous reserves will be protected. How, precisely? The grimmest facet of Brazilian expansion into the interior of the country concerns the dispossession of Indian lands, so often by violence and slaying. There are particular battles going on now in a number of places where the various authorities appear incapable of defending those who are attacked. It was ever thus. On top of that, being “Indian” in Brazil means that you will often collide with intense habits of prejudice and racism.

It’s more protection that’s required , not less- protection for the land and protection for the people- the obvious point being that everyone benefits. All the reservations, natural and indigenous, are enormous assets to the country. All Brazilians deserve better than to have these assets trashed by this upsurge of corrupt greed.

Alan Tormaid Campbell first bided with the Wayapi from 1974 to 1976. He returns regularly. His best-known book on the Wayapi is Getting to Know Waiwai

Read more: www.theguardian.com