Monthly Archives: November 2016

India Now Has World’s Largest Solar Plant, Which Can Power 150,000 Homes

Call it an environmental ray of sunshine.
India has released images of the world’s largest solar power plant at a single location, Al Jazeera reports.
The plant, which is located in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, took an impressive eight …

India Now Has World’s Largest Solar Plant, Which Can Power 150,000 Homes

Call it an environmental ray of sunshine.
India has released images of the world’s largest solar power plant at a single location, Al Jazeera reports.
The plant, which is located in Kamuthi, Tamil Nadu, took an impressive eight …

A Mumbai Mosque Lifted Its Ban On Women And Hundreds Came Out To Celebrate

More than 200 women entered the inner sanctum of Mumbai’s historic Haji Ali Dargah mosque on Tuesday after trustees at the site lifted a ban on female visitors.

The tomb houses the remains of Islamic saint Pir Haji Ali Shah Bukhari. Pilgrims traditionally have entered the room to touch the grave and offer prayers and flowers, though the site began banning women from the innermost sanctuary as early as 2012. The site’s trustees agreed in October to lift the ban on women entering the mausoleum after a group of activists filed a lawsuit in 2014.

Members of the Bharatiya Muslim Mahila Andolan, a group that promotes the advancement of Muslim women in India, reportedly tried to visit the site in July 2012 and were told they could not enter the mausoleum. Noorjehan Safia Niaz, the group’s founder, told The New York Times that the women had successfully visited the tomb in 2011. 

What happened between those dates is unclear, but the mosque’s managing trustee confirmed to press at the time that both men and women had previously visited the mausoleum. “How can we allow women to mix with men?” Abdul Sattar Merchant told The New York Times, defending the ban. He added that women sometimes didn’t wear full veils inside the tomb.

During court proceedings in 2015, the trust’s lawyers said women had never been permitted to approach the grave and instead offered prayers from an area off to the side. The decision to create a separate entrance and provide a “secure place” for women to see the inner sanctorum, they said, was ostensibly taken to prevent sexual harassment.

“This has been decided in the interest of their safety and security and they are close to the inner sanctorum of the tomb as possible, considering the rush of men,” the trust said.

However trustees also called it a “grievous sin” to allow women to be in close proximity of the grave of a male Muslim saint. 

The Indian Supreme Court ruled in favor of the activists, and the trust agreed to comply though it decided that worshippers would no longer be permitted to touch the saint’s tomb. “We are complying with the affidavit we filed in the Supreme Court on October 24 and treating both men and women devotees equally,” said Haji Ali dargah trustee Suhail Khandwani, according to The Times of India.

Niaz welcomed the court’s decision as a victory for women’s rights.

“We are very happy the ban against women’s entry into the shrine was lifted,” Niaz told The Guardian on Tuesday. “Credit must be given where due, and the trustees ensured our visit to the inner sanctum of the mosque was peaceful … We even had chai with them after the visit.”

The ruling at Haji Ali Dargah comes at a time when women in India are increasingly fighting for entry to sacred sites previously off limits to female visitors. Mosques and Hindu temples throughout India routinely segregate men and women. Many temples bar menstruating women from entering on an honor system, and one even took the extreme measure of banning all women aged between 10 and 50.

In November 2015, the Shani Shingnapur temple in Maharashtra suspended seven security guards after a female devotee reportedly stepped onto a platform off limits to women to worship an idol. 

Hundreds of demonstrators organized a march in January to protest the temple’s discriminatory policies towards women. The campaign gained momentum on social media with the hashtags #RightToWorship and #RightToPray to express solidarity with the women’s cause.

In April, the temple lifted the ban and permitted women to enter the inner sanctum.

Muslim women in India are also fighting to ban “triple talaq” ― a practice in which husbands can divorce their wives by saying “talaq” or “I divorce you” three times ― as well as polygamy, saying clerics’ justifications for such practices are “medieval” and “reek of sexism,” according to Reuters.

Kiran Moghe, national joint secretary of the All India Democratic Women’s Association, commented on the decision at Haji Ali Dargah on Wednesday, telling Reuters: “This is a welcome move in the fight for equal rights which are guaranteed by the constitution. It is a boost to women in the community addressing other matters of gender justice.”

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GOP Intensifies Pressure On Obama To End Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

North Dakota’s Republican senator on Wednesday blamed violent clashes between Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and law enforcement on President Barack Obama’s reluctance to approve the controversial project. 

“The ongoing protest activities ― which at times have turned violent ― are being prolonged and intensified by the Obama administration’s refusal to approve the final remaining easement at Lake Oahe,” Sen. John Hoeven said on the Senate floor.

A permit to build beneath Lake Oahe section of the Missouri River is the unfinished piece of Energy Transfer Partners’ 1,172-mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. The Obama administration withheld the permit in September after ordering a review of the application process and agreeing to consider a Native American tribe’s concerns that the pipeline threatens native land and drinking water. 

“This inaction has inflamed tensions, strained state and local resources, and, most importantly, is needlessly putting people at risk ― including tribal members, protestors, law enforcement officers, construction workers, and area residents ― our farmers and ranchers who live and work in the area,” Hoeven said. 

Hoeven said the pipeline is 98-percent complete in North Dakota, and 86- percent finished overall. Thousands of miles of pipelines crisscross the country already, said Hoeven, who argued that pipelines are safer than other methods of transporting oil. 

“It’s past time to get this issue resolved,” Hoeven said. 

The permit delay may be the last hope for the Standing Rock Sioux. The tribe contends the pipeline violates federal antiquities laws and an 1851 treaty. 

Hoeven’s comments come as officials ratchet up opposition to the protesters, who call themselves water protectors, and the camp they’ve occupied for months on federal land. 

On Tuesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department indicated that it would block delivery of food, medicine and other supplies to protesters who defy orders to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp. Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday ordered mandatory evacuation of the camp because of a predicted strong winter storm. 

The first blow to the camp’s security was an announcement last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would shut an area to the public that includes the main camp. The corps said its decision was based on growing violence between police and protesters and the onset of cold weather.  

The Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters, thus far, have refused to leave.

Hoeven, along with the governor and the state’s congressman, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R), have previously called on Obama to deploy federal law enforcement personnel to subdue the protest activity. 

“We recommend you provide federal law enforcement resources immediately to state and local agencies in order to maintain public safety, which has been threatened by ongoing ― and oftentimes violent ― protest activity,” the politicians wrote in a Nov. 23 letter to the president. “These resources are essential to prevent further destruction on and surrounding federal lands.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GOP Intensifies Pressure On Obama To End Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

North Dakota’s Republican senator on Wednesday blamed violent clashes between Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and law enforcement on President Barack Obama’s reluctance to approve the controversial project. 

“The ongoing protest activities ― which at times have turned violent ― are being prolonged and intensified by the Obama administration’s refusal to approve the final remaining easement at Lake Oahe,” Sen. John Hoeven said on the Senate floor.

A permit to build beneath Lake Oahe section of the Missouri River is the unfinished piece of Energy Transfer Partners’ 1,172-mile pipeline from North Dakota to Illinois. The Obama administration withheld the permit in September after ordering a review of the application process and agreeing to consider a Native American tribe’s concerns that the pipeline threatens native land and drinking water. 

“This inaction has inflamed tensions, strained state and local resources, and, most importantly, is needlessly putting people at risk ― including tribal members, protestors, law enforcement officers, construction workers, and area residents ― our farmers and ranchers who live and work in the area,” Hoeven said. 

Hoeven said the pipeline is 98-percent complete in North Dakota, and 86- percent finished overall. Thousands of miles of pipelines crisscross the country already, said Hoeven, who argued that pipelines are safer than other methods of transporting oil. 

“It’s past time to get this issue resolved,” Hoeven said. 

The permit delay may be the last hope for the Standing Rock Sioux. The tribe contends the pipeline violates federal antiquities laws and an 1851 treaty. 

Hoeven’s comments come as officials ratchet up opposition to the protesters, who call themselves water protectors, and the camp they’ve occupied for months on federal land. 

On Tuesday, the Morton County Sheriff’s Department indicated that it would block delivery of food, medicine and other supplies to protesters who defy orders to leave the Oceti Sakowin camp. Gov. Jack Dalrymple on Monday ordered mandatory evacuation of the camp because of a predicted strong winter storm. 

The first blow to the camp’s security was an announcement last week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers would shut an area to the public that includes the main camp. The corps said its decision was based on growing violence between police and protesters and the onset of cold weather.  

The Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters, thus far, have refused to leave.

Hoeven, along with the governor and the state’s congressman, Rep. Kevin Cramer (R), have previously called on Obama to deploy federal law enforcement personnel to subdue the protest activity. 

“We recommend you provide federal law enforcement resources immediately to state and local agencies in order to maintain public safety, which has been threatened by ongoing ― and oftentimes violent ― protest activity,” the politicians wrote in a Nov. 23 letter to the president. “These resources are essential to prevent further destruction on and surrounding federal lands.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

These Christmas Cards Are A Reminder That We Don’t Have Peace On Earth

A U.K. charity is flipping the script on the traditional nativity scene that graces the covers of many Christmas cards this time of year. 

Doctors of The World, a charity that works to give marginalized people around the world access to health care, has released a set of holiday cards for 2016 that showcase the modern realities of the region that was the birthplace of Christianity. 

The cards feature idyllic images of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and animals. Layered over these illustrations are chilling reminders of what some people in war-torn parts of the Middle East wake up to every day ― bombed-out buildings, drones, and missiles.

One card features the Three Wise Men, who according to tradition, followed the Star of Bethlehem to the manger where Jesus was born. But in this image, the star has been replaced by a drone.

“Every Christmas a romanticized picture is presented of the holy land of the past, featuring peaceful pastoral images that are shared in homes, churches and high streets across the country,” Leigh Daynes, the charity’s Executive Director, said in a statement. “This is completely at odds with the humanitarian crisis that the region faces today.”

The advertising agency McCann London designed these cards pro bono. They feature modern-day images taken by the Press Association over the last year. A spokesperson for Doctors of the World told The Huffington Post that they’ve sold over 3,200 cards since launching the project on November 26.

Doctors of the World has about 15 offices around the world, including two in Jordan and Lebanon. The charity reports that it provided over 580,000 people with medical care and delivered over 8,560 mental health consultations in Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq in 2015. 

Conflict in the Middle East has contributed to largest forced displacement of civilians since after World War II. According to the UNHCR, the highest number of externally displaced people have come from Syria. About 6.5 million people have been internally displaced in Syria since fighting erupted in March 2011, while 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian aid. In Iraq, 3.2 million have been internally displaced.

If those numbers break your heart, as Doctors of the World suggests, “’Tis the season to give a damn.’”

A pack of four limited edition cards cost $1.25 and can be purchased from the Doctors of the World website

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

These Christmas Cards Are A Reminder That We Don’t Have Peace On Earth

A U.K. charity is flipping the script on the traditional nativity scene that graces the covers of many Christmas cards this time of year. 

Doctors of The World, a charity that works to give marginalized people around the world access to health care, has released a set of holiday cards for 2016 that showcase the modern realities of the region that was the birthplace of Christianity. 

The cards feature idyllic images of Mary, Joseph, shepherds, and animals. Layered over these illustrations are chilling reminders of what some people in war-torn parts of the Middle East wake up to every day ― bombed-out buildings, drones, and missiles.

One card features the Three Wise Men, who according to tradition, followed the Star of Bethlehem to the manger where Jesus was born. But in this image, the star has been replaced by a drone.

“Every Christmas a romanticized picture is presented of the holy land of the past, featuring peaceful pastoral images that are shared in homes, churches and high streets across the country,” Leigh Daynes, the charity’s Executive Director, said in a statement. “This is completely at odds with the humanitarian crisis that the region faces today.”

The advertising agency McCann London designed these cards pro bono. They feature modern-day images taken by the Press Association over the last year. A spokesperson for Doctors of the World told The Huffington Post that they’ve sold over 3,200 cards since launching the project on November 26.

Doctors of the World has about 15 offices around the world, including two in Jordan and Lebanon. The charity reports that it provided over 580,000 people with medical care and delivered over 8,560 mental health consultations in Syria, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq in 2015. 

Conflict in the Middle East has contributed to largest forced displacement of civilians since after World War II. According to the UNHCR, the highest number of externally displaced people have come from Syria. About 6.5 million people have been internally displaced in Syria since fighting erupted in March 2011, while 13.5 million are in need of humanitarian aid. In Iraq, 3.2 million have been internally displaced.

If those numbers break your heart, as Doctors of the World suggests, “’Tis the season to give a damn.’”

A pack of four limited edition cards cost $1.25 and can be purchased from the Doctors of the World website

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Michigan Is Still Fighting A Court Order To Provide Water To Flint

Nearly three weeks after a federal judge ordered Michigan officials to deliver bottled water to Flint residents who lack access to safe drinking water, the state continues to fight it.

The preliminary injunction, issued by U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson on Nov. 10, calls for state and city officials to deliver bottled water to all Flint homes unless residents decline it or it is otherwise verified that the home has a properly installed, functioning water filter.

The state appealed that ruling in a Nov. 17 court motion, calling the ordered water distribution a “herculean effort” that “would be on the magnitude of a large-scale military operation” and extremely costly. The state estimates it would cost at least $10.5 million monthly to carry out and is seeking an emergency motion to block the order.

A ruling on the state’s motion is expected from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals any day now. Until then, state and city officials are required to file a status report on their compliance with the order by Dec. 16.

In a Tuesday call, representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which along with the American Civil Liberties Union is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, criticized the state of Michigan for “spending its time litigating as opposed to assuring safe water to its residents.”

The NRDC filed a brief Monday with the 6th Circuit describing the “harsh, on-the-ground reality” of Flint residents who are still “struggling to obtain enough safe water to meet their daily needs.” The organization is calling on the court to deny the state’s motion for a stay.

“We’ve got an ongoing crisis to this day,” NRDC Midwest Director Henry Henderson said. “People do not have access to safe water. This is not consistent with what we expect to happen to residents of the United States of America.”

The brief, authored by NRDC attorney Sarah C. Tallman, argues that the city’s and state’s response to drop off water filters at homes and operate water distribution sites is leaving many people behind, particularly residents without cars, the elderly and sick, and those who lack the “tools, strength or know-how to properly install, use and maintain filters left at their doors.”

That situation, the brief continues, will only worsen as winter approaches and temperatures plunge.

In response to the criticism, Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, asserted that the state is continuing to provide bottled water and filters to all Flint residents, “as we have been for months now, while also working on the plan for the massive logistics rollout needed to meet the order’s requirements.”

Heaton also noted that the state has teams made up of Flint residents hired using Department of Labor grants along with state workers who are going door-to-door to check that provided water filters have been properly installed and maintained by residents.

The state previously emphasized that at least 96 percent of Flint’s water customers have filters, so that would mean only about 4 percent of the city’s residents would require ongoing water delivery.

Still, in a separate filing to the court Tuesday, attorneys for Flint joined the state in calling the district court’s injunction “overbroad” and noted that the city lacked the resources required to comply with it.

State health officials are still urging Flint residents to drink the tap water only after it has been filtered to remove lead contamination that was first confirmed in September 2015 by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician.

Residents of Flint, a high-poverty, predominantly black city, had been complaining about the quality of their water soon after the city left the Detroit water system and switched its drinking water sources to the polluted, highly corrosive Flint River in April 2014.

Since then, Gov. Snyder and President Barack Obama have declared states of emergency in Flint, and the city has begun the slow and expensive process of replacing its lead water service lines throughout the city. 

According to the city, a total of 260 homes through the end of October have either gotten new service lines or had their lead lines capped. In total, at least 30,000 Flint homes need service lines replace.

It’s going to take a lot of money to make that happen, and Flint officials and activists alike are hopeful that federal assistance will play a key role.

David Goldston, NRDC’s director of government affairs, called on Tuesday for Congress to approve immediate funding to help the residents of Flint before the end of its lame-duck session.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives authorized up to $170 million in aid to address Flint’s ongoing water crisis in late September, $50 million short of the level of funding the Senate proposed as part of the Water Resources Development Act both the House and Senate approved earlier this year.

“Congress has done little but dither for the entire duration of the Flint crisis,” Goldston said. “The Republican leadership finally said they would insure money went to Flint, so in the next week or two we will see if they fulfill that promise.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that Flint’s aid is on track to be approved “one way or another” ― either through the water act or as part of a broader stopgap spending measure ― before year’s end.

――

Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food and water. In addition, Erbentraut explores the evolving ways Americans are identifying and defining themselves. Follow Erbentraut on Twitter at @robojojo. Tips? Email joseph.erbentraut@huffingtonpost.com.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Michigan Is Still Fighting A Court Order To Provide Water To Flint

Nearly three weeks after a federal judge ordered Michigan officials to deliver bottled water to Flint residents who lack access to safe drinking water, the state continues to fight it.

The preliminary injunction, issued by U.S. District Judge David M. Lawson on Nov. 10, calls for state and city officials to deliver bottled water to all Flint homes unless residents decline it or it is otherwise verified that the home has a properly installed, functioning water filter.

The state appealed that ruling in a Nov. 17 court motion, calling the ordered water distribution a “herculean effort” that “would be on the magnitude of a large-scale military operation” and extremely costly. The state estimates it would cost at least $10.5 million monthly to carry out and is seeking an emergency motion to block the order.

A ruling on the state’s motion is expected from the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals any day now. Until then, state and city officials are required to file a status report on their compliance with the order by Dec. 16.

In a Tuesday call, representatives of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which along with the American Civil Liberties Union is a plaintiff in the lawsuit, criticized the state of Michigan for “spending its time litigating as opposed to assuring safe water to its residents.”

The NRDC filed a brief Monday with the 6th Circuit describing the “harsh, on-the-ground reality” of Flint residents who are still “struggling to obtain enough safe water to meet their daily needs.” The organization is calling on the court to deny the state’s motion for a stay.

“We’ve got an ongoing crisis to this day,” NRDC Midwest Director Henry Henderson said. “People do not have access to safe water. This is not consistent with what we expect to happen to residents of the United States of America.”

The brief, authored by NRDC attorney Sarah C. Tallman, argues that the city’s and state’s response to drop off water filters at homes and operate water distribution sites is leaving many people behind, particularly residents without cars, the elderly and sick, and those who lack the “tools, strength or know-how to properly install, use and maintain filters left at their doors.”

That situation, the brief continues, will only worsen as winter approaches and temperatures plunge.

In response to the criticism, Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, asserted that the state is continuing to provide bottled water and filters to all Flint residents, “as we have been for months now, while also working on the plan for the massive logistics rollout needed to meet the order’s requirements.”

Heaton also noted that the state has teams made up of Flint residents hired using Department of Labor grants along with state workers who are going door-to-door to check that provided water filters have been properly installed and maintained by residents.

The state previously emphasized that at least 96 percent of Flint’s water customers have filters, so that would mean only about 4 percent of the city’s residents would require ongoing water delivery.

Still, in a separate filing to the court Tuesday, attorneys for Flint joined the state in calling the district court’s injunction “overbroad” and noted that the city lacked the resources required to comply with it.

State health officials are still urging Flint residents to drink the tap water only after it has been filtered to remove lead contamination that was first confirmed in September 2015 by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a pediatrician.

Residents of Flint, a high-poverty, predominantly black city, had been complaining about the quality of their water soon after the city left the Detroit water system and switched its drinking water sources to the polluted, highly corrosive Flint River in April 2014.

Since then, Gov. Snyder and President Barack Obama have declared states of emergency in Flint, and the city has begun the slow and expensive process of replacing its lead water service lines throughout the city. 

According to the city, a total of 260 homes through the end of October have either gotten new service lines or had their lead lines capped. In total, at least 30,000 Flint homes need service lines replace.

It’s going to take a lot of money to make that happen, and Flint officials and activists alike are hopeful that federal assistance will play a key role.

David Goldston, NRDC’s director of government affairs, called on Tuesday for Congress to approve immediate funding to help the residents of Flint before the end of its lame-duck session.

The Republican-controlled House of Representatives authorized up to $170 million in aid to address Flint’s ongoing water crisis in late September, $50 million short of the level of funding the Senate proposed as part of the Water Resources Development Act both the House and Senate approved earlier this year.

“Congress has done little but dither for the entire duration of the Flint crisis,” Goldston said. “The Republican leadership finally said they would insure money went to Flint, so in the next week or two we will see if they fulfill that promise.”

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that Flint’s aid is on track to be approved “one way or another” ― either through the water act or as part of a broader stopgap spending measure ― before year’s end.

――

Joseph Erbentraut covers promising innovations and challenges in the areas of food and water. In addition, Erbentraut explores the evolving ways Americans are identifying and defining themselves. Follow Erbentraut on Twitter at @robojojo. Tips? Email joseph.erbentraut@huffingtonpost.com.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Foreign-Born U.S. Nobel Laureates Reflect On Xenophobia In America

WASHINGTON — Seven U.S. residents and citizens will be honored in Stockholm next month as they receive one of the most prestigious awards in the world: the Nobel Prize, presented for outstanding work in fields ranging from economics to literature.

These Nobel laureates will boost the United States’ reputation as a hub for research in a variety of fields ― and they might just provide a subtle rebuke to the direction the country is taking.

Bob Dylan is the only U.S.-based 2016 Nobel laureate who was born in the country. (He does not plan to attend the prize-giving ceremonies.) The others represent a reminder of how being open to the world has allowed the U.S. to excel.

At an event at the Embassy of Sweden on Wednesday, four of the laureates talked to The Huffington Post about the anti-immigration rhetoric that became so prevalent during the divisive campaign of President-elect Donald Trump.

I think if you’re a young person who wanted to make their way … America is still probably the place. But that could change.
Oliver Hart, Nobel Prize winner

Each of the four became American citizens after coming to the U.S. from the United Kingdom to advance their studies. As white men from an English-speaking country, they acknowledged that they aren’t being targeted by the current xenophobic rhetoric. Still, they said they could draw parallels between what they’re seeing in the U.S. and what they have seen elsewhere in the world — and recognize that such talk could deter future talent from heading stateside.

“If people had been unfriendly toward us because we were not originally from this country, I suppose we wouldn’t have stayed here,” said F. Duncan Haldane, who won the Nobel Prize in physics. “You certainly wouldn’t want to go to a country if people were hostile to you.”

“No, we wouldn’t have come,” said J. Michael Kosterlitz, a joint recipient of the physics award.

Oliver Hart, who won the prize in economic sciences and has lived in the U.S. for about 45 years, said he is disturbed by the racist and xenophobic attitudes he has seen many Americans express in the last two years.

“I always thought of America as much better than that,” he said, reflecting on his early years in the U.K. “I think if you’re a young person who wanted to make their way … America is still probably the place. But that could change. Depending on where you’re from, you might decide that there are just too many negatives.”

Both Hart and Sir J. Fraser Stoddart, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry, compared Americans electing Trump to U.K. citizens approving the so-called Brexit referendum in June.

In the referendum, the U.K. voted to leave the European Union. It was a complicated issue, but many residents indicated that their votes were driven at least in part by anti-immigrant sentiment. Britons experienced a rise in nationalism as the global refugee crisis raged. Many feared that foreigners coming into their country would threaten their safety and culture, and they no longer wanted the whole of Europe to make decisions on their behalf.

“This depresses me a lot,” Stoddart said. “It’s not just an American phenomenon. We witnessed the same expression of xenophobia earlier this year [with Brexit]. I’m nervous about what lies ahead, as I think many American citizens are. We just don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, and that’s scary. It shouldn’t be this way.”

But Stoddart, who teaches and mentors students at Northwestern University, said he thinks there is reason to be hopeful that Americans will come out stronger than before.

“This is the signal for someone to set the ‘reset’ button and see the country rise again,” he said. “I’m still optimistic that, out of what we’ve experienced of late and what we might have to experience in the immediate future, there will be a good situation — maybe even better than we could ever imagine.”

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.