Beat the Heat This Summer: We Topped 400 (Parts Per Million of C02), Now What?

It took a couple of years for the number to stick:  350. Its the number (parts per million of C02) that we need to maintain if we want to save our lovely planet. But this weekend we topped 400 and like the frog in the pot of water that is slowly coming to a boil we may have reached a point of no return.  But we can’t live like that – fear and despair won’t change anything.

Crystal Lameman, of the Beaver Creek Cree who was honored at this year’s Global Exchange Human Right’s award says: “When disaster strikes it is not going to know race, color or creed. I’m here to tell you, when that happens, the greed is going see that it cannot eat money and you cannot drink oil.  And that we all bleed the same color. . .…If the government and industry think that throwing money at us is going to make this better, I choose life and my children’s lives and I choose health over money.

Crystal Lameman and Carleen Pickard at Global Exchange Human Rights Awards

Crystal Lameman and Carleen Pickard at Global Exchange Human Rights Awards has been building the broadest possible movement to fight climate change — making links around the world from Uzbekistan to Argentina, keeping that 350 number in front of UN negotiators and student activists alike. So it was with some trepidation that I saw a long e-mail from Bill McKibben cross my computer screen this weekend. What could he say that would lift my spirits and encourage me to keep up the fight even as the water begins to boil.

He calls us to fight – to do hard, important and powerful things this summer.  As we start experiencing the climate chaos of the summer months he says we have to turn up the heat on our politicians to get the number down again. “Summer Heat”— is a call to do something to stop our addiction to fossil fuels and the policies we’ve built around that addiction to maintain it — from fracking in California to the Keystone XL pipe line, to oil company’s dirty refineries to the struggles by front-line communities suffering from impossibly brutal extraction techniques, to mountain top removal and toxic sludge. To survive we have to struggle together.

Carleen Pickard, our Executive Director, said when she introduced Crystal Lameman, “I believe struggling for climate justice is our highest calling and greatest challenge as a movement. Some think of climate change as a distant or untouchable crisis, but we know every pollutant and every carbon emission is generated in a real place in real time. And as we confront this crisis together with the leaders from the front lines, we know an injury to any community on our beautiful planet will eventually injure us all.

Protecting the vitality of the atmosphere that sustains all life on Earth means we have to forge a new path past the international institutions have failed and abandoned us in the wake of corporate globalization. We must be brave. We must be fearless, and relentless. We must work together.

Thank you Bill Mckibben! Thank Crystal Lameman, Thank you Carleen Pickard!  It is one big fight we all want to be part of.

Join us at Global Exchange this summer to Beat the Heat!  This will be a chance for thousands of us to show the courage and love we need to bring the number down!

Rupa-and-the-April Fishes

Rupa and the April Fishes

The 11th Annual Human Rights Awards gala is happening next week in San Francisco, and I’m excited to share with you the latest addition to our stellar lineup of special guests.

The global alternative sounds of Rupa and the April Fishes will support the Human Rights Awards on May 9th!

Back from a whirlwind world tour spanning North America, Europe and Asia, Rupa & the April Fishes will bring their global alternative sound to Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards. The band has been touring heavily over the past 6 years, documenting the mix social upheaval and hope they witness around the world, from Central America to Greece, from the slums of India to their own Mission district of San Francisco.

Whether singing in French, Spanish, English, Romany, Tzotzil or Hindi, the April Fishes’ sound is “ecstatic and powerfully evocative” (LA Times) led by Rupa’s voice, which is “saucy, mysterious, and comparable in power to the late Amy Winehouse” (BUST Magazine). Their latest album BUILD, called “soulful and sensuous” by Relix Magazine, was produced with Todd Sickafoose (Ani DiFranco, Andrew Bird) and shows off the breadth of the band’s diverse chops.

We’re thrilled to have Rupa and the April Fishes as our special guests to help celebrate Global Exchange’s 25th anniversary. It’s going to be quite a night, as we honor the life’s work of Noam Chomsky, political theorist, writer, and activist, along with Grassroots Honoree Crystal Lameman and People’s Choice Winner Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

2013-Human-Rights-AwardGet your tickets now! They will sell out.

Human-Rights-Online-AuctionThe online portion of Global Exchange’s 2013 Human Rights Awards Online Auction is now open!

The auction runs from April 8, 2013 to April 18, 2013, with the live event taking place on May 9, 2013.

Proceeds go towards promoting social, economic and environmental justice around the world.

Auction items range from vacation getaways to donated items guaranteed to delight and surprise.

Here’s just a taste of what’s available to bid on:

Take-ActionSo, tell your friends, family, and community and let the bidding begin!

Can you help spread the word?

That’s a terrific way to help support our human rights work without spending a dime! Here are a few easy ways to share our online auction with your friends and family:

1. Click “Like” and “Retweet” buttons on top right of this post;

2. Use the “Share this Page” buttons on the top right of each auction item page to share specific auction items with others

3. Are you on Pinterest? We have a board filled with auction items, so if you’re on Pinterest we encourage you to follow us on Pinterest and “pin” your favorite auction items.


WikiLeaks-Website-LogoGlobal Exchange is pleased to announce that Julian Assange and Wikileaks have won the 2013 Human Rights Awards People’s Choice Contest by receiving the most votes from supporters of Global Exchange and human rights around the world.

Thank you for participating in the 2013 People’s Choice Award contest in advance of our 11th Annual Human Rights Awards and 25th Anniversary celebration on May 9th in San Francisco, CA. Once again this contest had tremendous nominees and thousands of voters from around the globe.

Wikileaks is a valuable tool for human rights activists the world over. Wikileaks helps whistle blowers bring forth information that is vital to public debate. It has helped push stories hidden by secretive governments or ignored by corporate oriented media to the fore.

Examples include exposure of insider trading at JP Morgan and the censorship of UK media outlets including BBC and The Independent. Wikileaks also revealed the inner dysfunction of Copenhagen climate negotiations and gave content to discontent that sparked the early Arab Spring protests. The shocking ‘Collateral Murder’ video depicted alleged war crimes by U.S. airmen, who appear to knowingly shoot innocent Iraqis from the air.

To learn more about Wikileaks, here’s a video clip of Bill Maher interviewing Julian Assange:

Crystal Lameman

Grassroots Award Winner Crystal Lameman

Introducing our Grassroots Award Winner!

Crystal Lameman, member of the Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, will receive the 2013 Grassroots Human Rights Award.

So please join us to honor Julian Assange and Wikileaks, Noam Chomsky and Crystal Lameman on Thursday, May 9 from 6:30PM to 8:30PM at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco for a night of inspiration, celebration, and fun.

2013-Human-Rights-AwardGet Your Human Rights Awards Gala Tickets Today

Tickets On Sale NOW! Special Early Bird price available until April 11th.

Global-Exchange-25-Year-AnnIn 1988, four friends co-founded Global Exchange to fight a worldview based on greed, domination, and unvarnished worship of power. Global Exchange was founded to change the hearts and minds of those lured to believe that corporate profit would trickle down to create wealth for all. We aimed to speak truth to power.

For 25 years, we’ve been on the frontlines of the struggle.


Now, we’re celebrating 25 years, and we are proud to honor the dedication of people like you who have sweat and sacrificed to forge a working alternative from the ground up. We’re proud of what we’ve done together.

Have a memorable Global Exchange story? Share your stories, memories, and moments.

But to achieve the visions we set out all those years ago, we’re going to need your continued support to build an unstoppable movement for change for the coming quarter century.

End the drug war. Shine a spotlight on lobbyists. Uncover corporations that profit from the illegal occupation of Palestine. Help communities draft legislation that puts their needs before corporate greed. We’ll be here, as long as it takes.

Slide1Join us in celebrating our 25th year!

Mark your calendars and save the date for our Human Rights Awards event in San Francisco on May 9. Join us to honor the life work of Noam Chomsky and the People’s Choice Awardee (tbd).

Travel to Mexico for Day of the Dead:

Next, our famously popular Day of the Dead Reality Tour to Oaxaca, Mexico will also be our celebration Reality Tour in 2013. It’s October 30 – November 7, more details soon!


We Want to Hear From You:

Remember, if you were there with us at any point during the past 25 years, please take a moment to Share Your Story with us, then join us as we move forward to build an unstoppable movement for change!


Global Exchange board member Ann Wright

The following guest post by Global Exchange board member Ann Wright originally appeared on

Bradley Manning was recently chosen as  Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards People’s Choice Winner. The award will be presented at the 2012 Human Rights Awards gala on May 10th in San Francisco and will be accepted on Bradley Manning’s behalf by special guest Daniel Ellsberg.

The Government’s Warning to Bradley Manning and Others: “Tell on us, and we will put you behind bars for the rest of your life”

The pre-trial hearings for alleged Wikileaks whistleblower US Army PFC Bradley Manning hold some lessons for us all.

One of the issues discussed in Manning’s April 25 pre-trial hearing has relevance for all of us. If soldiers or other government employees expose on the internet or in interviews with journalists government malfeasance, should that person be charged with “aiding and abetting the enemy?” Even if a soldier has no intent to give information to an “enemy,” no “evil intent,” but the enemy could possibly have access to the interview by buying a newspaper that contains the interview, or accesses it on the internet, should the government employee be prosecuted for “aiding and abetting the enemy?”

What if the government is more fearful of its citizens than of al Qaeda and the Taliban and attempts to silence the whistleblowers in the government who alert the citizens of the wrongdoings of its government?

What if the government does not want to hold accountable those in government who are violating regulations and laws?

The prosecution in the Bradley Manning trial is arguing that soldiers should know that the “enemy” uses the internet and can easily find derogatory or negative comments from military personnel and use them to find weaknesses in military units, strategies, policies.

Does that mean that a soldier, government employee, or for that matter, anyone not even in government who talks about the monstrously high levels of post-traumatic stress in our military or talks about 18 military and veterans committing suicide a day, or anyone who identifies cost overruns in virtually every government program is subject to the charge of “aiding and abetting the enemy.”

I recently inadvertently and fortuitously ended up at a meeting with a US State Department sponsored group of young professionals from the Middle East who were brought to the United States to learn more about our country. I mentioned that I was attending the hearings for the alleged Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning.

The reaction of the group was stunning. Immediately hands for questions went up—the questions began with a comment—“Without Wikileaks, I would never have learned what my own governments was doing, its complicity in secret prisons and torture, in extraordinary rendition, in cooperation in the US wars in the region. Wikileaks exposed what our politicians and elected officials are doing. Without Wikileaks, we would never have known!”

And that is what Bradley Manning’s trial is all about and what the charges against six other government employees who face espionage allegations for providing information the government classified to protect its own wrongdoings -to silence other potential government whistleblowers.

Only two persons in our government have had the courage to risk life imprisonment to leak massive amounts of government documents. Daniel Ellsberg leaked thousands of documents that revealed the sordid history of the US involvement in Vietnam and who President Nixon labeled for his actions “the most dangerous man in America.”

And now, Bradley Manning who is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents that reveal war crimes in the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and questionable US diplomatic policies and duplicity with governments around the world.

The charges of “aiding and abetting the enemy” and of espionage are meant to threaten any others who might find the evidence of government criminal actions and alert the American public.

The unmistakable warning is “don’t tell on us, or we will put you behind bars for the rest of your life.”

About the Blogger: Global Exchange board member Ann Wright is a retired US Army Colonel who spent 29 years in the US Army and Army Reserves. She resigned from the State Department on March 19, 2003 in protest of the invasion of Iraq. Since then, she has been writing and speaking out for peace. Ann has been on delegations to Iran, was in Gaza three times in 2009, and was an organizer for the Gaza Freedom March. She was on the 2010 Gaza flotilla that was attacked by the Israeli military and on the Audacity of Hope boat which was part of the Freedom Flotilla in 2011. She lives in Honolulu.

Attend the 2012 Human Rights Awards gala: Global Exchange is proud to honor Bradley Manning as its 2012 Human Rights Awards People’s Choice recipient.

Find out all about this exciting awards event here and purchase tickets here.

It’s time to Spring into your monthly dose of Fair Trade news and event updates. Find out about upcoming contest deadlines, plus info about a 15 day “Fair Trade Adventure to Sri Lanka” giveaway.


Take part in the Human Rights People’s Choice Awards by nominating and/or voting and help Global Exchange honor the human rights heroes who are making a difference – whether they’re in your neighborhood or halfway around the world. Someone working in Fair Trade, perhaps.

It’s time to shine a spotlight on those unsung heroes working for peace, justice, and sustainability.

Participating is easy breezy. Simply log onto Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards website, and nominate and vote for YOUR Human Rights Hero/Heroine. The last day to nominate and vote is March 19, 2012, so hurry!

Your nominations and votes help determine who will win Global Exchange’s People’s Choice Award and take home $1,000 to use towards their important work.

You nominate. You vote. You decide.

This award means a great deal to the winners, and this honor is an important way to strengthen the efforts of their work. Past People’s Choice honorees include Mexican Poet/Activist Javier Sicilia and Cambodian human rights activist Mu Sochua. Help us choose the 2012 Honoree today.

What are you waiting for? It’s easy and free! Log on to power to choose this year’s People’s Choice Award winner is in your hands.

Graphic Credit: Fair Trade Resource Network


Source: Fair Trade Resource Network

World Fair Trade Day (WFTD) May 12, 2012, is an international celebration and promotion of Fair Trade. Events will be held in over 80 countries.

In N. America, communities are celebrating World Fair Trade Day from May 6-20. WFTD is the largest Fair Trade event in N. America, with around 100,000 people attending hundreds of local events around the U.S. and Canada.

Get Involved in World Fair Trade Day 2012:

Graphic Credit: Fair World Project


Source: Fair World Project

More than 500 Retailer Events Planned and National Contest Offers a Fair Trade Adventure to Sri Lanka.

Fair World Project will coordinate more than 500 retail store events on World Fair Trade Day, May 12, 2012. The coordinated campaign to celebrate and promote World Fair Trade Day is being sponsored by dedicated fair trade brands Alaffia, Alter-­Eco, Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, Guayaki, Equal Exchange, and Maggies Organics. Retailer participants include Whole Foods Market and many other retailers of natural products around the country.

In-store events will include: sampling and promotional discounts from dedicated fair trade brands; a screening of a new educational video about the principles of Fair Trade; and contest entry for a 15 day “Fair Trade Adventure to Sri Lanka.” The contest will be the first of its kind organized nationally and will provide an all expenses paid trip in conjunction with Intrepid Travel for 2 random winners to visit the ‘Coconut Triangle’ region of Sri Lanka where the world’s first organic and fair trade coconut oil project was developed over the last half decade.

Read more about it here.

Graphic Credit: Fair Trade Resource Network


Source: Fair Trade Resource Network

Less than 3 weeks are left to nominate organizations for the first inclusive “Best in Fair Trade” Awards for N. America nonprofits & businesses.

The public can nominate and vote for U.S. & Canada based organizations doing exemplary work in Fair Trade in 5 categories: Most positive change in a producer community; Outstanding long-term commitment to producers; Best support of the Fair Trade movement; Most effective public education program; Most effective advocacy for trade policy reform.

FTRN created the contest since no awards existed to honor organizations across all major Fair Trade recognitions. Winners will be celebrated during World Fair Trade Day in May. Nominate or self-nominate nonprofits and businesses before March 31. The public will then vote for finalists during April.

Learn more at “Best in Fair Trade” Awards.



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“The greatness of humanity is not in being human, but in being humane.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

Take part in the Human Rights Award People’s Choice Contest, and help us honor the human rights heroes who are making a difference – whether they’re in your neighborhood or halfway around the world! Join us in shining a spotlight on those unsung heroes working for peace, justice, and sustainability. 

It’s easy. Just log on to Global Exchange’s Human Rights Awards website, and nominate and vote for YOUR Human Rights Hero/Heroine. The last day to nominate and vote is March 19, 2012.

Your nominations and votes help determine who will win Global Exchange’s People’s Choice Award and take home $1,000 to use towards their important work.

Javier Sicilia (left) delivering speech at 2011 Global Exchange Human Rights Awards

Last year’s People’s Choice winner is Javier Sicilia, who was recently named one of TIME magazine’s People of the Year!

You nominate. You vote. You decide.

This award means a great deal to the winners, and this honor is an important way to strengthen the efforts of their work. Past People’s Choice honorees include Mexican Poet/Activist Javier Sicilia and Cambodian human rights activist Mu Sochua. Help us choose the 2012 Honoree.

What are you waiting for? It’s easy and free! Log on to

The power to choose this year’s People’s Choice Award winner is in your hands. Help us celebrate everyday human rights hero(s) and heroine(s).

This update was originally sent to Global Exchange Mexico e-mail list. Be the first to receive urgent news and actions by signing up for Global Exchange’s e-mail lists.

We wrote last week about Federal Police breaking into the Paso del Norte Human Rights Center in Ciudad Juárez, an important host of the Caravan for Peace that was travelling 3,000 kilometers north to Juárez through cities hard hit by the drug war like Morelia, San Luis Potosi, Torreon, and Monterrey.

Many people wrote to U.S. officials about this atrocious break-in. The State Department response of privately expressing concerns to Mexican officials and publicly praising the spirit (though not the demilitarizing goals) of the caravan would not have happened without pressure. The Caravan arrived safely in Juárez last Thursday.

The Caravan Arrives In Juárez

I met the Caravan on the outskirts of Juárez on Thursday evening as part of a noisy and expectant crowd of hundreds that swelled into more than a thousand as we waited hours in the sun and then descending darkness to welcome the 20 some buses and dozens of cars that had joined in. The caravan was late — mostly due to making repeated stops to speak with large groups of people who spontaneously organized to show their solidarity and give testimony along the route.

As you can see in the news reports we linked in the first paragraph, stories of pain, death, and victimization were a constant in all the meetings along the way. The leaders of the caravan, including Javier Sicilia, who was honored and spoke in San Francisco just days before at the Global Exchange Human Rights Awards Ceremony, listened and made careful note of the chillingly similar stories of brutality and impunity including horrors inflicted by army, police, criminals, and others.

Ted Lewis, Javier Sicilia and John Gibler at the 2011 Human Rights Awards Gala

What impressed me the most about the arrival of the Caravan in Juárez that night was the response it elicited from ordinary residents, shopkeepers, truck drivers, and others along the usually abandoned and eerily quiet streets of Juárez. Instead of spending evenings inside shuttered houses and behind multiple gates and padlocks as residents of Juárez have become accustomed to doing in recent times, people surged into the streets; whole families clustered on street corners at 10 PM to join smiling citizens who stopped to wave and in some cases, hold up handmade signs of welcome. The mood was infectious and spirits remained high even as a vast welcoming crowd in Villas de Salvarcar — a neighborhood shaken in 2010 by one of the war’s worst massacres – listened to a series of speeches and testimonies that lasted until one in the morning.

Building the Movement

On Friday morning, movement organizers met again on the campus of the University of Juárez. The aim was to discuss and clarify the goals of the movement, as well as to propose concrete steps for further action to build the movement and challenge the failed drug war strategy and its supporters on both sides of the border. The results of these meetings included calls for drug policy reform, ending the Merida Initiative, pressuring the U.S. to take measure to end gun trafficking, and to end the dangerous militarization of a public security. In the wake of the meetings, some tactical and other disagreements over emphasis have emerged, giving this powerful and morally grounded movement some difficult growing pains.

Global Exchange is supporting a number of campaigns to end gun trafficking, challenge the U.S. to get serious about drug policy reform (this week marks the 40th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s launching of the drug war in 1971), and end the Merida Initiative. Please check out the links in this paragraph for more information.

On Saturday, movement organizers crossed the border to headline a rally and multiple press conferences in El Paso, Texas. One of the most notable events of that day was the announcement that Cipriana Jurado Herrera had been granted political asylum in the United States — which she had sought based on her mistreatment at the hands of the Mexican Army. The granting of her petition, which exposes the routine abuses of the Mexican military, is unprecedented.

Protest from the Air

On Sunday, far away in California, another event that shows the growing reach of Mexico’s peace movement took place. A small plane pulling a banner with the now familiar logo of the No Más Sangre (No More Blood) movement saying “40,000 Dead! How Many More?” passed above Stanford Stadium where Mexican President, Felipe Calderón, was about to give the commencement address to the graduating class of 2011. The fly over, which lasted for 15 minutes of the president’s 18 minute speech, was barely mentioned in U.S. publications, but created a firestorm of TV and front page news coverage across Mexico, where public challenges to the President are rare.

Articles and cartoons generated in the wake of the action are documented on this excellent Facebook page. This homemade video clip of the action has been posted widely and has already been viewed tens of thousand of times.

We will continue to update you on this growing peace movement in Mexico, and encourage you to sign our petition encouraging the Obama Administration to put an end to the Merida Initiative.

Ben Cohen, Tex Dworkin, Kevin Danaher, Jerry Greenfield Photo Credit: Natalie Mottley

The Ninth Annual Human Rights Awards was a great success!  The sold out event included inspirational speeches by three incredible honorees, witty banter by event emcees Ben & Jerry (in tuxedos!), and the participation of the entire Global Exchange staff, board, and community.

Since 2001, the Human Rights Awards Gala has brought together activists, supporters, and friends to recognize the efforts of exceptional individuals and organizations working for human rights from around the country and around the world.

Guests in attendance this year included folks from Ben & Jerry’s, CODE PINK, Dr. Bronner’s, Drug Policy Alliance, Fair Trade USA, Harrington Investments, Sungevity, The Pachamama Alliance, Thanksgiving Coffee, and a whole lot more!

Fair Trade models Jocelyn Boreta, Rae Abileah, Zarah Patriana

Fair Trade models donned Fair Trade outfits & accessories with “Ask Me About My Outfit” sashes or swatches. They strutted their stuff on the big stage to showcase some of the Fair Trade goodies being auctioned off during the silent auction, while guests enjoyed Fair Trade Certified Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream.

Thank you to everyone who joined us June 1, 2011, as we honored the work of:

  • Gulf Coast Activist Wilma Subra (Domestic Honoree).  Wilma  is an accomplished environmental scientist who has been on the frontlines fighting for the rights of local communities in Louisiana following the Gulf Spill. Watch her speech at the HRA here.
  • U.N. Ambassador for Bolivia Pablo Solón (International Honoree), a strong proponent of climate justice and the Rights of Nature.View his speech at the HRA here.
  • Javier Sicilia (People’s Choice Honoree) , a poet building a movement to free Mexico from the spiraling violence of the ‘war on drugs.’ Watch his speech here.

Photographer Natalie Mottley

All in all, the 9th annual Human Rights Award Gala was a great time. If you weren’t able to make it, we hope to see you there next year!

The event was photographed and filmed by pros, and we’ll be sharing some of those clips n pics down the road a bit.

In the meantime, I brought my camera along to snap a few pics on my own during the event. Below are a few of them, plus one from photographer Natalie Mottley. Hope you enjoy!

2011 Human Rights Awards Gala Photos

Liza Gonzales and Medea Benjamin

Jason Mark, Antonia Juhasz, and Wilma Subra

Beth Rogers-Witte Garriott and Ashley Cline

Wanda Whitaker checking out the silent auction

Walter Turner and Pierre Labossiere

Kylie Nicole-Nealis and Cheryl Meeker

Mary & Mike Murphy and Kevin Danaher

Kevin Danaher and Jeff Furman

Javier Sicilia and Ted Lewis Photo Credit: Natalie Mottley

Pablo Solón and Carleen Pickard