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.

The people create thousands of solutions to confront climate change

Thousands of Cancuns for climate justice

La Via Campesina calls on social movements and all people to mobilize       around the world

Peasants are cooling down the planet

Globalize the struggle

Globalize hope!

Climate activists from around the globe have been planning activities on and around December 7th to unite as a community for climate justice and to denounce false solutions to climate change.

Get involved by participating wherever you are. Mobilizations can take many shapes: direct actions, parties, markets, festivals, discussions or exhibitions…. They can take place in any city, village, school or community. Actions are being posted every day at the Via Campesina webpage. In North America, the Mobilization for Climate Justice and the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance both have resources and updates.

Locally in the Bay Area, Mobilization for Climate Justice West is hosting a teach in on Dec 1. More details on that here. Also on Dec 7 MCJW will be pushing for the creation of a public park in the Mission on publicly-owned land currently used as a parking lot. Everyone is invited to build a garden, celebrate community-based activism and enjoy speakers, theatre and music!

Two more resources:

Via Campesina has created a great 7 minute video about climate justice looking towards Cancun, check it out here (also the Via Campesina call out for action) or here.

Grassroots Global Justice Alliance offers a fantastic action and communications toolkit for mobilizing here.

…And here are links to few principles sheets and documents in case you do not have them:

Cochabamba Accord

Indigenous Environmental Network Four Principles of Climate Justice

IEN Report and Statement on REDD

Global Justice Ecology Project Podcast on Cancun Climate Talks Exposes REDD (click on the 11/20/10 Earth Minute)

I join the Acapulco leg of the Caravans of Resistance and Against Environmental Destruction and Inaction (Caravanas en Resistencia en Contra de la Destrucción Ambiental y la Indolencia) tomorrow and will report out soon!

To support LVC’s actions in Cancun, donate here.

To act locally (Bay Area), support MCJW here.

Global Exchange spent this past spring in Cochabamba, Bolivia at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and Mother Earth Rights. The conference was called by Bolivian President, Evo Morales in response to the disappointing failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference in December 2009. The goal was to gather input from people all over the world and shape that input into a plan that can effectively address climate change.

At the conference, Global Exchangers met with heads of state and several social movement representatives in working groups to discuss adaptation, migration, climate debt, action strategies and a host of other issues. The Director of our Rights-Based Organizing Campaign, Shannon Biggs even spoke on the main stage about our Rights of Nature work, like the work she has been doing with the community of Mt. Shasta, California.

In meeting different groups of social movements and speaking with people directly affected by climate change, Global Exchange was able to produce this latest video, Planet and People First, as a report back from Cochabamba. The video features interviews with Conference participants from around the globe including Naomi Klein and Maude Barlow, as they share some of the hope and energy that came out of Bolivia.

Watch the must-see film for you and your community on the vital work of Global Exchange and communities around the world to end addiction to oil and ensure real action is taken globally towards climate equity.

Planet and People First: A Global Exchange report Cochabamba, Bolivia 2010 from Global Exchange on Vimeo.

After watching the film, check out Global Exchange’s Top Ten List of Ways to Save the Climate.

The 10.10.10 global day of climate change action is right around the corner and Global Exchange is calling for your support to help change the conversation around climate change.

In support of 10-10-10 as a global day of climate change action, we are joining with our friends at 350.org and hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens around the world in making October 10th the biggest day of climate change action ever! Take part in the Global Work Party, celebrate climate solutions, join an event already happening, get outside and get to work! When the day is done, check out our new 13 minute video – People and Planet First.

Planet and People First: A Global Exchange report Cochabamba, Bolivia 2010 from Global Exchange on Vimeo.

Later this year, we are taking our message to end addiction to oil and ensure real action is taken globally towards climate equity at the upcoming climate change talks in Cancun, Mexico. We want to protect the planet and people living in it and we are asking for your support. Every little bit helps us in our effort to spread the word for climate equity.

The need to address the climate emergency is now. In order to maintain a human-friendly climate on earth, all major GHG-emitting countries must accept emission limits, but that will not happen unless they are all bound to an agreement that all consider fair. The failure at the meetings in Copenhagen in December 2009 proved that the major roadblock to a fair international climate agreement is the peculiar belief held by most of our political and economic leaders that we – the global North, and the United States in particular – deserve to be more wealthy than the vast majority of people in the world. The only basis upon which a fair global climate deal can be built is a more equitable distribution of the world’s wealth and resources.

The most inconvenient truth we must confront in order to reverse climate change is the fact that the wealth of the United States and European countries is built upon centuries of colonial, financial and environmental exploitation. The countries of the global South get this. We don’t. We must not only secure a fair and effective international climate deal, but also convince the US Senate, which must approve all treaties by a two-thirds vote, that the American people favor sharing the world’s resources more equitably. That will be a difficult task, but it is exciting to realize that the solution to climate change is the creation of a world that is more just and equitable.

See our top ten ways to save the climate now and support our climate equity work.

Happy 10-10-10 everyone!

Join Global Exchange, our friends at 350.org, and hundreds of thousands of concerned citizens around the world who are making October 10th the biggest day of climate action ever! Take part in the Global Work Party, celebrate climate solutions, join an event already happening, get outside and get to work! When the day is done, join Global Exchange supporters and host a Party for the Planet & help us raise $10,000. (Find out how you can donate directly.)

Be a part of the movement! Organize a Party for the Planet film screening fundraiser followed by a discussion.  Hosting a great film screening fundraiser isn’t hard!  Just follow these easy steps:

Get the Video: Fill out an online form to receive Planet and People First— a short (13 minute) film from the first People’s Climate Conference in Cochabamba, Bolivia this spring. It is a must-see film for you and your community on the vital work of Global Exchange and communities around the world to end addiction to oil and ensure real action is taken globally towards climate equity.  Receive a copy of the filmYou must order by October 1st in order to guarantee arrival by October 10th.

Invite Your Friends:  Invite your friends over.  You can prepare light refreshments, or have a potluck and share the workload.  Check out our party planning resource page for downloadable invitations and other helpful tips.

Start the Conversation: Once you and your guests have viewed the film, take a moment to have a discussion around the issues of global climate change and climate equity.  See our list of questions and tips.

10 – 10 – 10 Donations: Our fundraising goal for 10-10-10 is to raise $10,000 dollars.  Ask your guests to give $10, $10(0), $10(0)(0) or more.  If you’re shy about asking for donations, don’t worry – our website offers great tips and resources to make you into a pro.

Please join us in making this important day into a success. Even if you can’t host a house party, consider donating to Global Exchange’s work directly.

We look forward in you joining us in this global movement!