2011 is finally here.  So now seems as good a time as any to take stock of everything we’ve accomplished in the past year, to draw together our challenges and victories and lay them out there for you to see. Since there isn’t space enough to showcase everything, we’ve selected a few of our favorite highlights from 2010 to share with you:

Climate Change

People's World Conference on Climate Change

This year, Global Exchange attended the People’s World Conference on Climate Change in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where 35,000+ people  called for a dramatic rethinking of our place on this planet.  When it came time for the COP 16 climate talks in Mexico, we knew we would have our work cut out for us.  At the end of the day, the progress we made in Mexico was minimal, and we knew the best bet for real climate change solutions was a renewed organizing effort at home and around the world.  

Shannon Biggs published this on December 12th to Commondreams.org: “It is time to deliver the message of Cochabamba to the people who are capable of creating change, of creating 1,000 Cochabambas…If we want to be heard at the U.N., then we need to go home and build the revolution of change in the places where we live.”

Want to read the rest?  Click here.


Medea Benjamin speaking out

Is it crazy to act a little crazy to stop something you think is crazy?  We think not.  When Jon Stewart announced his rally to restore sanity, we had to say something. This piece written by Medea Benjamin appeared on the Huffington Post on October 27th, 2010.

“CODEPINK has been proposing solutions since the day we started.  Whether under Bush or Obama, our voices of sanity have been drowned out by a war machine that makes billions selling weapons and hiring mercenaries.”

Read the entire article here, then read how Medea was invited to appear on The Daily Show.

Antonia appearing on Democracy NOW! with Amy Goodman

Getting Tough on Big Oil

The oil spill in April opened up a lot of people’s eyes about the horrific dangers of the oil industry.  The lives lost, the ecosystems and livelihoods destroyed, plus the billions of dollars in damage were all testaments to the magnitude of the threat posed by this dirty industry.  When it came time to hear from the experts, our in-house authority on oil Antonia Juhasz weighed in on the debate. She shared her views on Democracy NOW! and in The Guardian, May 24, 2010 article entitled How Far Should We Let Big Oil Go? where she had this to say:

“The communities most directly harmed by oil’s abuse are organized, networked, and ready.  The public is roused, angered, and ready to act.  The oil corporations are on notice: the true cost of their operations is simply too great to bear.”

Click here to read more.

Reality Tours

Agriculture in Cuba

This year,  National Geographic decided to list Global Exchange Reality Tours as one of their 2010 Tours of a Lifetime.  Our Cuba trips, and the unique opportunities they afford travelers to cut through the misinformation and discover things for themselves, caught the attention of this esteemed travel magazine.

National Geographic praised our Cuba trip’s “commitment to authenticity, immersion, sustainability, and connection.”

Click here to read more.

Fair Trade

Hershey’s refuses to go Fair Trade.  Despite years of promises, despite the massive evidence of child slavery and other abuses on West African plantations, Hershey’s still won’t budge.  So, Global Exchange partners with other organizations to apply some pressure.  The result?  A CNBC news story covered far and wide, in which Adrienne Fitch-Frankel, Global Exchange Fair Trade Cocoa Campaign Director, shared:

“Hershey’s demonstrates a commitment to children in the U.S. by funding the Milton Hershey School.  They can demonstrate the same concern for children and families in the African communities that farm their cocoa by using Fair Trade Certified cocoa for their chocolates.”

Want to read the rest?  The article is still cross-posted here.

Speaking Out About Violence in Mexico

Most of us have become all too aware of the gruesome violence that has gripped Mexico over the past year.  What is not as well known is the role played by the U.S. government and its allies in the Mexican government in the problems associated with narco-trafficking and arms smuggling.  Ted Lewis, director of our Human Rights Program, spoke out in the Seattle Times in September:

“…Any effective prescription to pull Mexico back from the abyss will require cooperation as well as introspection and substantive policy changes from the U.S.”

Read more by clicking here.

What’s Next?

Hosting a peace activist in residence, more Reverse Trick-or-Treating, elections monitoring in Mexico, Reality Tours to over thirty countries, Green Solutionaries, Green Festivals, renewable power payments…there isn’t enough room to include everything we’ve got planned for 2011.  But I can tell you this for sure: we’ve got big plans.