Sunday, November 20, 2022

Reflections on the UN Convention on The Rights of the Child

I didn’t learn about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child until I was living in Cambodia, where it was an important framework for helping us address family violence, human trafficking, and community development. Maybe this isn’t too surprising, since the Convention is still young. It was adopted on this day (November 20) in 1989 by the UN General Assembly and became effective on September 2, 1990, after it was ratified by the required number of members. It is a very basic commitment to honoring and protecting the dignity and humanity of children, and 196 nations, including every member of the United Nations except one, has made that commitment. The one UN member that is still holding out, three decades later, is the USA. 

Sunday, November 13, 2022

“Even Where We Mean to Mend Her”: Transforming Culture in an Age of Catastrophic Climate Change

In 1879, Gerard Manley Hopkins celebrated a row of trees and grieved that they had been cut down. His grief expanded from those trees to the hubris of humanity, elegantly and painfully describing how quickly we alter the living world of which we are a part – often to its (and our own) devastation. The result was "Binsey Poplars": 

 My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled,
Quelled or quenched in leaves the leaping sun,
All felled, felled, are all felled;
    Of a fresh and following folded rank
            Not spared, not one
            That dandled a sandalled
            Shadow that swam or sank
On meadow and river and wind-wandering weed-winding bank.