[HumanRights] Our collective New Year

This time last year, we (at the Palestine Institute for Biodiversity and
Sustainability- Bethlehem University) wrote a message capping the end of
the year. As I revisited it, I noticed hope and optimism we expressed, New
Year resolutions we made (mostly partly met, new positive things came
about). Like last year it was a year with new roads opened, hills climbed,
and obstacles overcome (challenges=opportunities!). We indiginous people in
the cradle of civilization and agriculture and the birthplace of Jesus and
“Holy Land” to many religions remain hopeful.


We will not saddle you with the details of the negative things that
happened geopolitically such as the political gains of right-wing
anti-human and anti-environment politicians in places like Brazil and the
UK. It is also not good to lament that my second country (the USA) is still
“occupied” by war-mongering politicians (both parties, most of them puppets
of Zionist lobbies) who passed budgets that take money from the poor to
give to the rich and to war (killing people in this part of the world). The
biggest purveyor of violence in the world according to Martin Luther King
Jr was and remains the government of the USA.


We can tell you that we got good rain so far and plants are growing
everywhere (including in our own botanical garden) and that our research
productivity has increased (about publications in 2019!). We can tell you
that our team had a retreat to review very successful 2019 and plan to
double our activities in 2020. Even today, the last day of 2019, we got 34
visitors from a college in the US (young students with a bright future who
will be thinking globally and acting locally). Thus over 6000 visitors to
the Institute in 2019. We can tell you that the best Christmas party was
held by our volunteers and staff at a Lifegate, center for children with
special needs. The smiles on the children’s faces was worth everything We
can also say that a people movement for justice, for human rights, and for
the environment is growing around the world. For example that we in
Palestine set up a group of Palestine Action for the Planet and that we are
affiliated with Extinction Rebellion Globally. We can tell you that things
will grow rapidly in 2020. Members of our team will travel to the USA &
Switzerland (in January), to Uganda and Lebanon (in February), to Jordan
(April and May), to Australia and New Zealand (in June) and much more.


We can tell you that we have a big project funded by the EU that starts
tomorrow (January 1st) for three years in collaboration with the Galilee
Society (Shefa Amr, Galilee) and the Palestinian Center for Rapprochement
Betrween People (Beit Sahour) to enhance and protect human and natural
(bio) diversity. We may not have political power yet but there are some
good signs this is coming. We do not wait for it though: we work for it,
reduce our carbon footprint, grow more vegetables, give more opportunities
to children to grow loving and nurturing other living beings, and much
more. As the Buddhists say: we have “joyful participation in the sorrows of
this world”. You can help grow this movement for sustainable future!
Organize and give of your time and money! To help those of us here in
Palestine, please visit www.palestinenature.org . Short video about our


https://youtu.be/BPhFLOsEIM0 (already over 9100 views)


“You give but little when you give of your possessions; it is when you give
of yourself that you truly give. For what are your possessions but things
you keep and guard for fear you may need them tomorrow? And what is fear of
need but need itself.” Khalil Gibran, The Prophet 1923


Have a happy, productive, peaceful, green, and all together wonderful New
Year 2020. That is happiness


Sincerely yours


Mazin Qumsiyeh and team

Palestine Museum of Natural History

Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability

Bethlehem University

Occupied Palestine