Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals

This blog's purpose is to connect in an every widening and deepening manner with others across the globe in support of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals.

Let's be the first generation to end poverty by 2015 with the United Nations' Eight Goal Millennium Campaign.
1. End Hunger 2. Universal Education 3. Gender Equity 4. Child Health 5. Maternal Health 6. Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases 7. Environmental Sustainability 8. Global Partnership.

Learn more about what this weblog is trying to accomplish at the new PBworks Wiki.

Speaking Out for the Millennium Development Goals

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What If - Millennium Development Goals Ending Poverty 2015

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Zunia update on OLPC

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One of the early influences in this web journey was One Laptop Per Child program, which I learned of first from TED Video Nicholas Negroponte on One Laptop per Child.

The program has always engendered controversy in its implementation, its attempted partnership with Intel and the larger issues of how the program fits into the educational programs of developing nations. Whether it would reach its full potential has been a question. At times it seems to have been A Hopeful Idea Hopelessly Mired?

I had not thought about OLPC for quite a while when Zunia recently raised the issue again. This time the discussion is more extensive and deeper because of the time that the program has been out there and the shared experiences of those on-the-ground trying to make the best of the program. This post only scratches the surface of what the Zunia articles and extended discussions offer. I plan on reading them again to get a better understanding, not so much of the OLPC program but the challenges faced by organizations that attempt to create educational programs in developing nations that address the challenge of Millennium Development Goal 2. Universal Education. The discussion demonstrates that despite the best of idealistic intentions, implementing these programs is both difficult and complex.

Zunia asks, under both Education and Science & Tech ICT, What Have We Learned From One Laptop Per Child?

Four years ago, Nicholas Negroponte introduced the world to the "One Laptop Per Child" idea at WSIS by showing off a "$100 laptop" with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The educational and technology fields haven't been the same since.OLPC has impact deeper and farther than just XO's passed out or more...

Dweep Chanana provides the counterpoint in the Educational Technology Debate with Wayan Vota on what the OLPC has achieved thus far. He disagrees with claim that that the OLPC is “changing education, technology, even culture in ways beyond any one person’s understanding.” Instead he takes the position OLPC is not “revolutionalizing” education

For one lets be realistic that the OLPC is not “revolutionalizing” education. Yes, OLPC will soon have 1 million XO laptops in circulation. But compare that with 121 million children not in school, 668 million children that started primary school in 2007, or the 774 million illiterate adults and the OLPC does not seem that revolutionary. No doubt, computers will be important in the future to deliver education, but a lot of schools still struggle with having a blackboard or even a building. So lets not overstate either the scale or the impact of the OLPC.
Scott Kipp writes about What We Learned From OLPC Deployments
I think there is a great deal being learned from the story of the OLPC Foundation itself, and even more still from the myriad OLPC deployments around the world. Lessons from OLPC projects will be coming out for years to come, to help better match the tools to the desired pedagogical approach.
According to Leland Smith For Real OLPC Impact, We Need Infrastructure
I was in the Peace Corps in Cape Verde as an ICT volunteer from 2006 to 2008, and while I was there, the One Laptop Per Child project came on my radar and I became pretty enamored of the prospect of bringing some XOs to the country, or at least raising awareness of the idea within the government.

However, after considering all the obstacles with some fellow volunteers and local educators, including a Ministry of Education delegate, I kept running into the same issue: So we get the laptops, and then what? We discussed the potential of OLPC endlessly, but eventually came to the conclusion that the program was a mess, especially after the departure of some of their best minds and the insistence that the hardware is the only thing to supply. But if OLPC itself won’t supply the rest of the framework, somebody must.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The End of Copenhagen and we start again

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I agreed to do a post on the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in support of OXFAM efforts. They came up with a pretty intense video to convince people to sign the petition against global warming. This is another Bloggers Unite effort. My current struggles at work meant that a number of draft posts are going by the wayside but I am putting together a post from a number of sources hopefully covering where everything ended up, kinda of.

When I woke up this morning the New York Times was reporting

Obama Presses China for Accountability on Climate

President Obama called on world leaders to move swiftly to address climate change, and, in a direct challenge to China, pressed for a global climate change accord to include a way to monitor whether countries are complying with promised emissions cuts.
The World leaders went through the final hours of direct negotiations. The UK Prime Minister has directly appealed to Avaaz to build the tidal wave of public pressure needed to reach a deal that stops catastrophic global warming of 2 degrees.

"What you're doing through the internet around the world is absolutely crucial to setting the agenda. In the next 48 hours, don't underestimate your effect on the leaders here in Copenhagen"
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown
On an emergency conference call with 3000 Avaaz member

They came up with 13,788,513 in response.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu told hundreds of delegates and assembled children:
"We marched in Berlin, and the wall fell.
"We marched for South Africa, and apartheid fell.
"We marched at Copenhagen -- and we WILL get a Real Deal."
President Obama also spoke.
"We are ready to get this done today but there has to be movement on all sides to recognize that it is better for us to act than to talk. Better for us to choose action over inaction; the future over the past. With courage and faith, I believe that we can meet our responsibilities to our people, and to the planet."

According to Foreign Policy Magazine

A frustrated U.S. President Barack Obama addressed U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen on Friday and urged countries to accept an agreement, even if imperfect, though he stopped short of promising new U.S. emissions cuts. "No country will get everything that it wants," he said.
Does any of this make any difference? Many say no, but according to GinaMarie Cheeseman of Care2 Global Warming even if it occurred A Failure At Copenhagen May Be a Blessing In Disguise

Perhaps when it comes to the very real possibility that COP15 may be a virtual failure, Time magazine said it best:

The failure of the summit may be a blessing in disguise, because when it comes to dealing with climate change, the last thing we need right now is yet another empty agreement and yet more moral posturing.

The Time article also said that the focus needs to shift from “trying to make fossil fuels more expensive” to “making alternative energy cheaper.” In short, we need a new industrial revolution

I am still trying to absorb it all and figure out what it all means.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Coalition of Advocates (and me) Supporting the Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy

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ONE is joining forces with the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN)—including:

They are combining efforts across the Aid Advocacy community to help elevate the call for development and foreign assistance reform for President Obama and his key advisors through the Presidential Study Directive on U.S. Global Development Policy.

Tom Hart, Director of Government Relations at ONE.org advised in an email:

Right now, President Obama and his senior advisors, led by National Security Advisor James Jones and National Economic Council Director Lawrence Summers, are preparing a Presidential Study Directive that will shape the future of U.S. efforts to alleviate poverty, fight disease, and create economic opportunity for the world's poorest people.

The petition they want us to sign, with my two cents added, reads:

Please create a U.S. global development strategy giving development a strong voice in foreign policy decisions and coordinating efforts to alleviate global poverty, fight disease, and create economic opportunity.

This would be the strongest message that you could send to the rest of world supporting the vision you put forth when accepting your Nobel Peace Prize. It would also be one of the most significant actions the United States could take in supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals especially to end poverty.

MFAN will deliver the petition to key White House contacts on December 18. They are looking to get 25,000 signature and so far they have 23,989 with 3,999 from California. So this time I am getting this out about a week early giving anyone who reads this an opportunity to add their voice so that they reach their goal.

Enjoying Victories - Whether by Democrat or Republican - Whether by Activist or Slacktivist

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This blog endeavors to support the United Nations' Eight Goal Millennium Campaign by supporting the actions of a number of advocacy organizations including ONE. These actions often involve supporting the many different laws focused on the Millennium Development Goal to End Hunger.

Just before Thanksgiving, I sent in my comments urging my Congressional representative (Republican) to sign on to the Berman-Kirk letter requesting a robust International Affairs Budget. I was told that he would take it under advisement.

Well, whether he supported it or not (not), the overall Berman-Kirk FY2011 Budget Campaign was a Resounding Success and a bipartisan one.

A victory in the fight to "Upgrade Aid" occured when the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 15-3 to pass the Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act (S.1524) through their committee.

The bill we passed today…is the product of well over a year of research and analysis by Senators and their staffs. It has attracted the support of most development groups, led by the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network. It is co-sponsored by a bipartisan group of 19 Senators, twelve of whom are members of this Committee. This level of backing for a bill related to foreign assistance structure is extremely rare. It provides an opportunity to build something approaching a consensus on this issue.

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Committee Ranking Member

This legislation demonstrates Congress’s commitment to strengthening the capacity, accountability and effectiveness of our foreign aid programs. With the U.S. facing critical foreign policy and development priorities worldwide, it is vital that we update our foreign aid programs to reflect the new challenges of the 21st century.

Senator John Kerry (D-MA)
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman

I’ve been able to see our foreign assistance dollars in action and am proud of the role we are playing in producing positive change in the lives of millions around the world, but at the same time, I share the frustration of many Americans that our foreign assistance efforts have often lacked transparency, coordination, monitoring and evaluation. This bill begins to reinvigorate USAID to improve the coordination, execution and efficiency of U.S. assistance so we can make each dollar go farther.

Senator Bob Corker (R-TN)
Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on International Development
and Foreign Assistance

This is one of the most significant pieces of foreign assistance legislation that has passed out of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in decades. I am proud that this is truly a bi-partisan bill, developed in a collaborative manner and that it includes input from a wide range of voices. These programs are critical to millions of people around the world, they contribute to our mutual economic health, and are in the direct national security interests of the United States.

Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Chairman of the Subcommittee on International Development and Foreign Assistance

Over 47,000 ONE members signed the petition
19 senators signed on—
9 of these since the campaign was first launched.

Sheila Nix, the U.S. Executive Director, ONE.org tells us that the next step for aid reform will be the White House Presidential Study Directive on U.S. global development, which General Jim Jones and Dr. Larry Summers are working on right now. Stay tuned to the ONE Blog and your email for updates and opportunities to take further action.

The need for this effort is made clear by the testimony of Dr. Helene Gayle, president and CEO of CARE.

In the video she testifies in defense of Global Hunger and Food Security legislation, specifically the Global Food Security Act (HR3077) and the Roadmap to End Global Hunger Act (HR2817).

However, it seems that these bills are still languishing so the work still needs to continue.

Help Free Aung San Suu Kyi - Late Better Than Never - Small Better Than None

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In my last post I wrote about not participating in the Amnesty International letter writing campaign and provided some excuses for not doing so. The undone and unsent posts remained in my drafts and one in particular gnawed at me.

Amnesty International had reminded me that the military rulers of Myanmar have jailed thousands in their efforts to crush all dissent – including prisoner of conscience and Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. But the pressure on Myanmar's leaders is building, and Suu Kyi's release is not only possible today, but could happen very soon.

The more letters we send, the better chance we have at setting Aung San Suu Kyi free.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been a source of inspiration for both this blog and for My Pathways to New Paradigms, which helped define this journey. There have been times when I have been skeptical of these efforts but this time I am putting those thoughts aside.

So even if it is the end of the campaign and its is only one letter, I fulfilled a pledge to write a letter on behalf of Aung San Suu Kyi: Yes, I will write a letter!

Senior General Than Shwe
Chairman State Peace and Development Council c/o Ministry of Defense Naypyitaw UNION OF MYANMAR (Burma)

Dear Senior General:

I am deeply concerned that Nobel Peace Prize winner Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced in August 2009 to 18 months of house arrest after already spending 14 of the past 20 years under detention or restriction because of her work to protect human rights in Myanmar. She is one of more than 2,100 political prisoners detained in Myanmar, including student leaders Htay Kywe, Mie Mie, and Zaw Htet Ko Ko, Buddhist monk U Gambira, and political activist U Win Htein.

The sentencing of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to 18 months of detention is an affront to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which your government is obliged to uphold as a member of the United Nations.


Our President Obama urged Myanmar's Prime Minister, Thein Sein, to release democracy leader, Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners in Myanmar when he met with the leaders of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations)
.

I urge you to demonstrate Myanmar’s commitment to human rights by ordering the immediate and unconditional release of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all other prisoners of conscience in Myanmar.

Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.


Sincerely,


Brian Dowling


copy to:
U Myint Lwin Minister-Counselor,
Charge d’Affaires Ad
Interim
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
2300 S Street NW Washington, DC 20008
Fax: 1 202 332 4351 Email: info@mewashingtondc.com


It is a very minor effort in this year's Amnesty International Global Write-a-thon which has as this year's goal 10,000 activists sending 250,000 letters compared to last year's of 7,000 people in the U.S. who wrote 200,000 letters in support. Still, it will add one more straw to the junta's back. Even though the effort seems meager and last minute, I keep in mind what else Amnesty International reminded me about.

P.S. – We've seen prisoners freed and lives spared when letters flood into government offices! Just last year, Ma Khin Khin Leh, a school teacher in Myanmar and Hana Abdi, a women's rights advocate in Iran, were both released from prison after Write-a-thon letters overwhelmed their respective government offices.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Getting Down to Basics and Helping Where We Can

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My exploration of paradigm shifts moving from an individual level to a global level has always been predicated on a belief in the human right and ability to transcend circumstances. Before establishing the Millennium Development Goals we need to start with the basic premise of Human Rights. Everyone should have the right not to be hungry, not to be uneducated, not to suffer from disease and to have the economic tools necessary to achieve this.

To achieve this though there needs to be a more basic definition which is provided by Youth for Human Rights International which has the highest click rate by eight times on my FeedBurner account. This is something people care about.

- What Human Rights Are. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

  • Do you know what Human Rights are?
    Every person is entitled to certain rights – simply by the fact that they are a human being. They are "rights" because they are things you are allowed to be, to do or to have. These rights are there for your protection against people who might want to harm or hurt you. They are also there to help us get along with each other and live in peace.

Trouble is that I am still a slacktivist and because of pressures (budget cuts/layoffs) from my real life/day job I did not participate in the Amnesty International letter writing campaign [This changed the next day/post]. I feel a sense of guilt and frustration about this. I did get a chance to communicate with my two Senators a few weeks ago on an important issue that I am told helps Amnesty International's on-the-ground efforts, even slacktivists try to help in their own way.

Senator Barbara Boxer Senator Dianne Feinstein

I urge you to take an important step for human rights and a crucial step for women's rights by supporting Senate consideration of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The Women's Convention is the best instrument for advocating effectively on behalf of women's human rights in Afghanistan and around the world. CEDAW is the only treaty to provide an international standard for promoting the basic human rights of women. The Convention provides important measures to ensure the full development and continued improvement of women's human rights at home and abroad by addressing such issues as violence against women, access to education and health care and equal protection under the law.

The past several months have underscored the fundamental importance of the protection of human rights, and particularly the protection of women's rights. The overwhelming adoption of this Convention by more than 185 countries serves to counter claims that in any culture discrimination, domestic violence, and other forms of oppression are acceptable.

I ask you to support Senate consideration of CEDAW during this Congress. Please tell me how you intend to address this issue.


Sincerely

Brian Dowling

I received an answer from Senator Boxer a week ago.

Dear Mr. Dowling:

Thank you for writing to me in support of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). I appreciate the opportunity to hear your views.

Since first joining the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in 1999, I have been a strong advocate for U.S. ratification of CEDAW. In 2002, the committee voted to approve CEDAW. Unfortunately, this treaty has not yet been brought before the full Senate for a vote.

I believe that the American effort to promote human rights and equality for women around the world will be much more effective and credible if we join with other nations and ratify CEDAW without further delay. That is why I am very pleased that we now have a President who has publicly pledged his support for CEDAW and has encouraged the Senate to take action.

Because I feel so strongly about CEDAW, I will continue to fight for its ratification in the U.S. Senate.

Thank you for contacting me about this important treaty. Please do not hesitate to contact me again about this or any other issue of importance to you.

Barbara Boxer
United States Senator

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thanks, Obama is going to Copenhagen

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Bad news first, I am way behind doing posts for this blog and the situation with Copenhagen and the smoking e-mails has been moving too fast for me to keep up. Good news, before I was overwhelmed at work I was able to get my two cents in through a number of the organizations this blog supports. Better yet, all those emails from activists and slacktivists alike seems to have made a difference so the good people from CARE have let me know. I know that Avaaz (235,980 last count trying for 240,000) and 350.org are continuing the campaign and taking it to the streets of Copenhagen and streets around the world. Even if I can't keep up like I would like hopefully others can.

Dear Brian,

Thank you for sending a letter to President Obama encouraging him to personally attend the United Nations Convention on Climate Change in Copenhagen.

You made a difference! Thanks in part to your efforts, the president will be attending the conference. The White House statement confirming President Obama's presence said, ''The president believes it is possible to reach a meaningful agreement in Copenhagen. ''The announcement also called President Obama's decision, ''a sign of his continuing commitment and leadership to find a global solution to the global threat of climate change.''

Your commitment helps make the world a brighter place for all, and I look forward to working with you again soon. Together, we are helping to create a world without poverty.

Sincerely,
Helene Gayle

Helene D. Gayle, MD, MPH
President and CEO


This is what I said beyond the template email plea to President Obama:

Whether they are afflicted because they are at the lowest rungs of the world economy or because they are one of the low lying nations facing extinction from global warming people or in danger of dying or barely surviving. It is the failure of the majority of nations not to have the political will to come together and address the issues. They had the will to promise under the Millennium Declaration, but not the will to fulfill the promise in particular Millennium Development Goal 7 Environmental Sustainability. COP15 would be a step in the right direction if nations put aside their own particular interests and look to the good of the planet.

We have a chance to take a positive leadership role in the world and bring needed change. We are now suffering from an international economic crisis and global climate damage. One billion are in even greater danger of overwhelming disaster. We have the greatest resources at our disposal on the planet, so we should take up the greatest responsibility. It is going to take a global effort and we should be a significant part.

World Aids Day Seeking Comfort and Hope

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My last post was on World Aids Day supporting the BloggersUnite event in support of day. Truth be told it was a last minute post thrown together during my real life/day job lunch hour but I wanted to get something up. Despite the last minute effort, I got a comment from somebody who has been touched by the destruction of this disease, so I thought it worthwhile to pass it along.

VictorStephens commented on BloggersUnite Reminds that Today is World AIDS Day and so does the rest of the world - Milestones For A New Millennium:

HIV/AIDS has touched the soft spot of people globally. In almost all countries over the world, there are many associations, charitable organizations, religious missions and several other bodies have setup funds, donations and other aid to help the unfortunate AIDS victims. I have personally seen innocent children of tender age affected by aids which was no fault of theirs. AIDS today has definitely become a global problem. Much has been said of this dreaded disease, but sad to say, the statistics adds on daily. When is the world going to say that we have conquered AIDS? Do we just talk about it only? What promise and comfort has the future for these poor victims?

Site/Blog URL: http://familyget-togetherhaven.blogspot.com

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

BloggersUnite Reminds that Today is World AIDS Day and so does the rest of the world

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BloggersUnite is getting bloggers together today to recognize World Aids Day. World AIDS Day, observed December 1 each year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection. The fact that it remains a global affliction is why it is the 6th Millennium Development Goal Combat HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

What is inspiring is that this is a cause that brings out the best in people. People can get involved at that global level and at the local level, whether they are the rich and famous or just every day folks.

The Catholic Medical Mission Board reminds us for the reason for World Aids Day and provides both reasons to celebrate and reasons to continue the work.
World AIDS Day; a day that reminds us that HIV has not gone away. The scope of the problem seems overwhelming; 33 million people infected, 15 million children orphaned.
60 second video Our efforts to fight HIV/AIDS have already made an impact on countless lives. In the last year, with your help, we have:

  • reached 69,786 women with counseling and testing,
  • reached 53,184 men, women and children with life-saving antiretroviral treatment,
  • provided short course antiretrovirals for HIV prevention in pregnancy to 1,940 women,
  • shipped to 39 countries, donated medicines and medical supplies valued at 265 million dollars,
  • sent more than 500 healthcare volunteers to 27 countries.

World AIDS Day

"The people we are helping are living proof of the strength and depth of the human personality."

-John F. Galbraith, President and CEO

Sam Davidson of 5 MINUTES OF CARING shares the idea of glocal which readily applies to this issue and the efforts being undertaken today.

The term "glocal" is used to draw attention to an idea that has both "global" and "local" implications. AIDS certainly fits the bill. Worldwide, over 33 million peopleare living with HIV, and over two million of those are children. Sub-Sarahan Africa is hit the worst with it, and no part of the world is immune to AIDS. So today, learn more about AIDS and then take action on a global level. Whether you support an NGO doing work on the ground, or just pass along this article to a friend, spend five minutes looking at the big picture.

For World AIDS Day, Ashley Greene, ONE Member joined some friends from TV and film to make a video sharing our commitment to defeating extreme poverty and preventable disease. This blog is a small voice but it can also help spread the word.




The more people talk, the more we can accomplish. Just sharing your commitment to fighting global poverty with your friends can inspire them to make the same commitment, and start up a buzz that will build into a roar of collective action.

Throughout history we've seen how committed people, together, can change laws, break barriers and decide elections. And together, we can defeat extreme poverty and eradicate preventable, treatable diseases including HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

But it takes all of us working together across borders, time zones, cultures...through advocacy, action, and awareness-raising.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Maybe Senator Boxer should go to Copenhagen

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I have said before that Senator Boxer is a leader in the Senate when it comes to environmental legislation. Some of her most significant work as been on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733). Below is a some history on the bill from its latest passage out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee to her original remarks introducing the bill.

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a climate and energy bill sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and John Kerry (D-MA).

Th Environmental Defense Fund reminds us that Chairman Boxer and her colleagues deserve great credit for their commitment to move forward on solving our climate and energy challenges.

encouraged by the announcement yesterday that Senators Kerry, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) will work together to craft a bipartisan bill to bring America greater energy independence and cap pollution.

Dear Friend:

The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which I chair, has opened an intensive three-day schedule of legislative hearings on the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act, S.1733, a bill aimed at creating new, clean energy jobs, reducing our dependence on foreign oil, and curbing the production of greenhouse gases. I am pleased to share with you my opening statement, available at this link. If you would like to see all of the testimony from the hearings, and see video or a live feed, please use this link.

Sincerely,


Barbara Boxer
United States Senator


Dear Mr. Dowling:

Thank you for writing to me in support of clean energy legislation to fight climate change. I appreciate hearing from you.

I want to share with you the statement I made when Senator John Kerry and I introduced the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act (S.1733).

Sincerely,

Barbara Boxer

United States Senator

Senator Boxer's statement on the introduction of "The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act" on September 30, 2009:

I am very pleased to stand with my colleagues, national security leaders, veterans, business leaders, workers, environmental organizations, religious leaders, wildlife protectors, energy companies, state and local officials and so many others as we introduce the Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act.

This bill addresses major challenges of our generation:

.protecting our children and the earth from dangerous pollution;

.putting America back in control of our energy future;

.creating the policies that will lead to millions of new jobs; and

.through our example, inspiring similar actions around the world to avoid an unstable and dangerous future.

As Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I want to thank so many of my colleagues and their staffs, on and off the committee.

Senator Kerry's staff and my office have been a team, working together for weeks and weeks, and often late into the night. Colleagues and staff on the EPW Committee have been very important in this effort and their work is reflected.

We built on the successful House effort. Our bill has stronger targets in the short term and we have expanded our coalition in the business community.

In our bill, the basic promise to consumers has been kept. The promise to regions that rely heavily on fossil fuels has been kept as well.

The first major part of the bill includes authorizations, all of which would be eligible for appropriations and some which are eligible for both appropriations and allowances.

Some of these are enhanced from the Waxman bill; some are new. Here are some examples of these authorizations:

Investments in clean natural gas, new transmission infrastructure, nuclear R&D and worker training, and green economic development;

Agricultural and forestry offset opportunities;

Provisions to speed the transition to cleaner transportation, including investments in our transit systems, and incentives for efficient hybrid and electric cars;

Adaptation authorizations that include wildfire prevention, flood control, water infrastructure, and investments in coastal communities and wildlife protection.

Our bill gives a much stronger role to mayors and local governments.

The second major part of our bill sets up the Pollution Reduction and Investment incentives.

In this section we have strong principles laid out for market transparency and oversight and we set up an Office of Offsets Integrity.

Allowances in this section will be detailed in the chairman's mark.

We have put into this section a soft collar to address cost containment and limit speculation while maintaining the environmental integrity of the pollution cap.

And our bill does not add one penny to the deficit.

In closing, let me say that my state of California is going through hard times right now and it weighs on me every day.

But there is one bright spot. And that is clean energy jobs and businesses.

The Pew Charitable Trusts reports that 10,000 new clean energy businesses were launched in California from 1998 to 2007. During that period, clean energy investments created more than 125,000 jobs and generated jobs 15 percent faster than the California economy as a whole.

The latest economic study predicts up to 1.9 million new jobs in America if we pass our bill.

We know clean energy is the ticket to strong, stable economic growth ...it's right here in front of us...in the ingenuity of our workers and the vision of our entrepreneurs. And in studies and models.

The global clean energy market is estimated to reach two and a half times the size of the global personal computer market by the year 2020.

We know from venture capitalists that billions of dollars from the private sector will flow into this market.

Others will move ahead if we don't seize this opportunity.

If we do, we will be a leader in the world as we protect the earth and all who dwell here from a future that the world's most respected scientists agree is threatened if we do not act.

No one knows what challenges will face them in their time.

No one chooses their time. But you know what? This is our time.

Global warming is our challenge.

Economic recovery is our challenge.

American leadership is our challenge.

Let's step up right now.

Let's not quit until we have fulfilled our responsibility to our children and our grandchildren.

Thank you.

Tell Obama and the Senate to Take Bold Climate Action!

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I have done a few blogs discussing the upcoming Copenhagen meeting on Climate Change this December. So far things don't look optimistic, but as they say it is always darkest before the dawn. I am getting involved with another BloggersUnite event, this time 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, more on that in another post. There are numerous avenues to take action whether full activist and going to Copenhagen to protest or slacktivist and simply clicking a petition button. I am trying for something in between.

The good folks at Care2 remind us that Barack Obama promised to take bold action on climate change. President Obama needs to stay strong -- we need a real climate bill calling for real change >> As world leaders prepare for the U.N. Climate Change Conference in December, it is critical that Obama steps up his efforts to pass strong and comprehensive clean energy and climate legislation here at home. Tell Obama to stay true to his word and transition us away from dirty energy >> I did, even though this video apparently says that he already knows. My words follow.


Failure at Copenhagen puts our planet on an unsustainable path. The questions of not now, when, if not us, who? cannot be ignored because it will not be the bottom billion of the world's economy that history will look to as they have no voice in this effort. It will be the leaders of the developed world and the leading economies who must answer. You have promised to work for the Millennium Development Goals, but none of the others matter if No. 7 Environmental Sustainability is not fulfilled.

Here are more reasons why from the Environmental Defense Funds (EDF).

New York Times ad on climate and water

With a climate bill pending in the Senate, the EDF tells us that they are doing everything we can to keep the pressure on for strong climate action.

You, like I did, can help by emailing your Senators and urging them to support a climate bill. I changed the default wording recognizing the fact that my Senators have been leaders in this effort, especially Senator Boxer.

Now is the time for the Senate to act. I strongly urge you to continue your ongoing leadership and support for strong climate bills and show our President that America is not only ready to support environmental legislation that helps our country, but that we are also ready to work with other countries to help heal our planet and create development that helps the bottom billion of the world's economy. The House has passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, HR 2454. This historic bill will place a cap on carbon, invest in America's green energy future, create needed jobs, curb our global warming pollution, and help free us from foreign oil. We have an historic opportunity to cap global warming pollution and put people back to work unleashing America's green energy economy.

Here are some sobering facts about climate and water to inspire you to take action:

7: Number of great rivers in Asia fed by meltwater from Himalayan glaciers (Ganga, Indus, Brahmaputra, Salween, Mekong, Yangtze and Huang He).

2 billion: Number of people, mostly in India and China, who rely on meltwater from Himalayan glaciers for their fresh water.

2035: Date by which the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and India's Energy and Resources Institute predict that much of the Himalayas could be glacier free.

66%: Amount by which the July-September flows would be reduced in the Ganga River if we lose the Himalayan glaciers.

37%: Amount of India's irrigated land is located in the Ganga region.

1 and 2: Respective rank of China and India as the world's producers of wheat and rice, food staples for all of humanity.

Sources for our climate and water facts:

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

After Copenhagen, Even More Reason to Worry

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What Would Failure at Copenhagen Mean for the Poor and Developing Nations?

The Care2 Petitionsite reminds us that we need to protect the poor and vulnerable around the world from the effects of climate change. They are asking that we help the poor with the effects of climate change. ». Currently, they are at 6,744 with a goal of 10,000. I am 6,747. My two cents are below:

We are destroying our planet for us all, which is bad enough, we are also putting the greatest cost on the poor. Our governments need to be reminded that these funds are only a small down payment on what was promised in term of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and especially 7. Environmental Sustainability. It is not money that is so desperately needed now, it is political will and global collaboration.

The fact that they are the ones least responsible for the changes in our environment and yet they are likely to suffer its worst consequences has been established previously in this blog under the post the Ugly of the Good, the Bad and The Ugly of Climate Change

There is funding set aside in the House's climate change bill to help poor people adapt to the effects of global warming, but at 1 percent of available resources, it falls short. What's needed is another $3.5 billion for international adaptation programs.
Poor people should not bear an undue burden of the impacts of climate change or the global adjustments needed to address it. Urge the Senate to help poor people adapt to climate change. »
The consequences of failing at Copenhagen don't look much better for the rest of us.

What Would Failure at Copenhagen Mean for Climate Change for the Planet?

From Scientific American: This is the consequence of failure at Copenhagen: A marked shift in scientific effort from solving global warming to adapting to its consequences, a hodge-podge of uncoordinated local efforts to trim emissions - none of which deliver the necessary cuts - and an altered climate.
Climate experts, scientists and negotiators say that, absent international agreement, the children and grandchildren of those living today will negotiate a world where planetary geo-engineering is a part of daily life, sea-walls defend coastal cities, the world's poor are hammered by drought, floods and famine and our planet is heading toward conditions unseen for the last 100 million years. MORE

Getting to Copenhagen, a Reason to Worry

Sphere: Related Content GinaMarie Cheeseman recently posted from Care2 Global Warming about Why the U.S. Must Take Action to Save Copenhagen.
One of the reasons the Barcelona talks were not a rousing success is because the U.S. refused to offer targets for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions. Jonathan Pershing, chief U.S. negotiator, said little when questioned by reporters about U.S. targets. “I have no information to share with you on that… We are studying this question. It's a decision that is yet to be made.”
Unfortunately, the next day she is wondering Is Copenhagen a Lost Cause?

She, like I am, not very optimistic about the chances of a legally binding treaty coming out of Copenhagen in December.

The Earth Negotiations Bulletin reported that some delegates at climate change talks last week in Barcelona were “contemplating the increasingly clear high-level messages that a legally binding agreement at COP 15 will not be possible." The Chair at B Barcelona, John Ashe, from Antigua and Barbuda, said that progress was “less than desirable.”
This story from Change.Org supports that view.

Obama Disses Copenhagen

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has laid out his benchmarks for success at the upcoming international climate change talks in Copenhagen, calling on developed and developing countries to do all they can do to cut emissions. But as Stop Global Warming guest blogger Mike Smith notes, it may be too early for Ban Ki-Moon to count on the Obama administration to dance to the same climate change rhythm. (Read more)

Why this is so discouraging is that the stakes are so great. GinaMarie Cheeseman in another post wrote that Kilimanjaro's Ice Cover May Be Another Climate Change Casualty. I added photos, video and links to additional resources. The preponderance of evidence is substantial.

In 13 to 24 years Ernest Hemingway’s short story, The Snows of Kilimanjaro may serve as a reminder of what the world has lost due to climate change. The snow-capped volcano in Tanzania might be ice-free within the next two decades, according to a study(pdf) recently published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal.

More graphic evidence is available from NASA. Click on the photos for more information

Finally, from TED Video, Yann Arthus-Bertrand has captured the fragile beauty of the Earth. Through video and film, his latest projects bind together ecology and humanism.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Meet me at the Wall

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From

Climate Change or for this blog Millennium Development Goal 7. Environmental Sustainability is the issue with the most significant impacts both nationally and globally. It is not enough for us to get our own environmental house in order, we must also work to Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources, across the planet. We cannot lead, however, if we don't start first with ourselves.

The idea of creating a clean energy economy is starting to become more of a reality in America. Far more so than it was in 2007 when I first started dealing with this issue, though far more sceptically than now. This blog and Web 2.0 have been an important factors in the journey from that point to this.

One particular aspect of interest has been the ability of organizations to use the power of Web 2.0 to enhance collaboration. The challenge has been how to move from the virtual world to the everyday real world, while still maintaining the connections. Often these efforts are somewhat parallel with feedback. People sign up and coordinate collectively, act individually as groups geographically separated, and report in collectively. The Stand Up Take Action End Poverty, and 350.org global wide efforts are examples. These efforts are time-specific to create maximum affect on a specific issue at a specific time to create maximum exposure for press coverage.

The Wall is a place where literally thousands and thousands of people committed to a revolutionary new energy future for our nation and the world are coming together -- to express our hopes, share our resolve, and step up to a leadership role in building a grassroots movement for change like nothing America has ever seen. It's an opportunity for you to be part of the climate movement in a new way, in a way that takes us beyond ourselves.
Share your voice on The Repower America Wall right now.

Add Your Voice.

I am still uncertain how effective this progressive "shock and amaze" or "shock and annoy" is really. It can be great for inspiring the true believers, but how effective it is moving the mainstream majority is still an open question. A better approach may be the The Repower America Wall. The Wall is collaborative and primarily online. They are reaching out to the real world through main stream media outlets such as TV.

Watch our first national TV ad featuring the faces and voices of supporters like you.
In the coming weeks and months, the messages you add will be part of a groundbreaking new campaign that speaks directly to our elected leaders on the television stations they watch, the radio they listen to, and the newspapers they read. The more photos and videos and thoughts that you add, the more powerful The Wall will be.
Today's national ad begins an aggressive new phase of our campaign. With your passion and the power of your voice, we will break through on clean energy and overwhelm the powerful special interests who profit the most by blocking progress.

The language is inspiring, but this effort was made for slacktivists, of whom I am one. Individuals can decide their own level of activism and then create a combined story. The effort does not have an apparent end point, so it can continue to grow, perhaps even more organically than the 350.org, which appealed more to true activists.

Three days ago they reached over 15,000 supporters of a clean energy future who have posted a message on The Wall. The question is whether they will be able to reach a tipping point in regards to collective activism. If all those who support this effort join and convince those slightly less convinced then this take a cascading viral path, but people need to be aware of it and take at least the action of going online. Fortunately, those most likely to support this effort are also more likely to have the knowledge and initiative.

Join thousands of fellow supporters at the Repower America Wall now.

A growing demand for clean energy from all of us together sends a powerful message to our leaders: American support for clean energy is broad and deep.

We're beginning to break through. But to get our leaders to listen and make clean energy a reality, we must rise up in numbers to make our voices heard -- to overwhelm the voices clamoring for the status quo.

We're competing with powerful interests who are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to protect their profits and block clean energy reforms at the expense of our families, our jobs, and our planet.
With every new message you add to The Wall you demonstrate that the most powerful interest in this fight isn't the oil or the coal lobby -- it's the American people joining together, speaking as one, for a clean energy future.

Add your voice to the Repower America Wall now

Saturday, November 7, 2009

We all Stood Up, now which pathway from here?

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The Stand Up event is still getting a good deal of press, at least on the Stand Up and related websites, but its time to move on. First though, I am going to take some time to reassess this effort and what I have learned.

I have learned a great deal since starting on this pathway, more than I can actually absorb, so some resources have been put aside until I could get back to them. One of the positive aspects of the World Wide Web is that any one particular resource will most likely contain a plethora of additional resources. An original source for this effort was the work of Jeffery Sachs' UN Millennium Project. Sachs on Common Wealth was found on Chandan Sapkota's blog which in turn deals with economic growth, development, and public policy in the developing countries, so it fits nicely with the focus of this blog. Chandan's blog provides a number of Interesting links and some insightful ideas with his idea of Intervention Diagnostic. I still prefer an analytical approach to an emotional based one.

I am still optimistic. I still believe in basic liberal democratic free enterprise as laying out the path most likely able to take us to a new and better millennium. Alex Tabarrok of my favorite economics blog Marginal Revolution, doesn't mention the Millennium Development Goals in this TED video, but does cite the growth of China and India and touches on MDG2 global education and MDG8 trade.

I maintain my basic belief in an entrepreneurial approach though with a strong social aspect, realizing this is an oxymoron to many on both ends of the political spectrum. Still there are those who, even if they criticize current policy and practices, remain capitalists, perhaps not unfettered uber-capitalists, but at least they still believe in free enterprise, despite the latest economic crisis.

The challenge is that if we still believe in free enterprise after the worst recession since the Great Depression, then we need to find better ways of using the tools of capitalism. This TEDTalk video features Geoff Mulgan: Post-crash, investing in a better world.

Frogdesign champion Tim Leberecht provides additional pathways for the Future of Capitalism through Meaning-Driven Business.

One example of this is Umar Haique who argues that we need to re-boot capitalism. And like Reinhard Marx, he focuses on a re-definition of “capital.” His concept of “constructive capitalism,” however, is more radical than the social market economy solution Marx proposes.

Haique demands that 21st century economics fundamentally rethink “what capital isn’t – and what capital really is.” “The value equation of industrial-era capitalism was toxically imbalanced. Why is industrial era business so destructive – why does it slash and burn rainforests, endanger entire species, vaporize culture and community, marginalize the poor and disadvantaged, and erode our health and vitality? Because none of those have value in an industrial economy: none are capitalized. So the bean counters of the world are free to plunder and ruin them – because, economically, they actually don’t exist.

Tim Leberecht work provides inspiration for some, like Nathaniel Whittemore, to actually see a Rebirth of Capitalism? Social Entrepreneurship blogger Nathaniel Whittemore notes that, "In the social entrepreneurship field there's a huge push to proclaim a self-fulfilling prophecy of a capitalist rebirth that puts social and environmental value back into the heart of the equation."

Where social entrepreneurship is heading is discussed by Heidi Neck, Candida Brush and Elaine Allen in the The Landscape Of Social Entrepreneurship(pdf.)

Entrepreneurship has often been cited as the engine of economic growth (Reynolds, Storey, & Westhead, 1994). Today, economic growth is still necessary, but no longer sufficient. Social entrepreneurship is the engine of positive, systemic change that will alter what we do, how we do it, and why it matters.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (S. 1524)

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I got two thank you emails over the last couple of weeks, which I am now getting around to sharing. One of was from Tom Hart of ONE.org.

You and more than 28,000 ONE members have already signed on to tell your senators to Upgrade Aid, but with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee now set to discuss the bill on October 20, we have a little more time to build momentum around this important cause. Please forward the message below to your friends and ask them to join you in supporting an aid upgrade that will help make U.S. foreign aid better, smarter and stronger.

Thank you,

Tom Hart, ONE.org

I got it for supporting S. 1524 along with, at last count, 45,392 others. They've reached 90% of their NEW goal of 50,000 signers! S. 1524 will give USAID the tools and people it needs to better fight hunger and poverty around the world, but this bill critically needs more support to push it through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, now scheduled for November 10, 2009. Tell your senators to upgrade aid now.

Please strengthen U.S. foreign aid by cosponsoring the bipartisan Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009 (S. 1524).

Ultimately, it means better USAID programs to help the most difficult-to-reach farmers grow crops and feed more of Africa's 265 million hungry people. It means better support for treating 6.6 billion liters of water in Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, and Zambia. And it also means better immunization, polio eradication, nutrition, diarrhea and pneumonia care, and maternal and neonatal healthcare through USAID programs across the African continent.

The other was from Senator Dianne Feinstein, United States Senator

Mr. Dowling

Thank you for writing to express your support for the "Foreign Assistance Revitalization and Accountability Act of 2009" (S. 1524). I appreciate hearing from you regarding this legislation and welcome the opportunity to respond.

Like you, I want to help alleviate the suffering of people living in poverty worldwide, and believe that organizations such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) must be adequately funded and staffed, with robust congressional oversight to ensure transparency and accountability.

Indeed, it is important to examine ways in which the Federal agencies tasked with fighting global poverty, such as USAID, can be reformed and strengthened to better achieve their mission. As you may know, S. 1524 is designed to achieve this through such measures as directing the Administrator of USAID to develop a comprehensive workforce, human resources strategy, and a related task force to support the objective of promoting development and reducing global poverty. As you may know, this legislation is currently awaiting consideration by the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, on which I do not serve. Be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should the full Senate have the opportunity to debate this bill.

Further, you may be interested to learn that the Senate Appropriations Committee, on which I serve, recently approved its version of the fiscal year 2010 State -Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (S. 1434), which includes $1.4 billion in funding for USAID to support programs such as the Development Leadership Initiative (DLI), which will provide an additional 350 USAID Foreign Service Officers. Please know that I read your comments with interest and will be sure to keep them in mind as I continue to examine U.S. foreign aid funding.

Again, thank you for writing. I hope that you will keep in touch on issues of importance to you. If you have further questions or comments, please do not hesitate to call my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 224-3841. Best regards.

Sincerely yours,
Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Sustainable Environment and Sustainable Development - The World has a chance to keep a millennium promise this December

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Another big event I missed because of real life/day job was 350.org and the more than 3000 extraordinary climate actions across nearly every country, from the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef to the summit of Mount Everest. Click to see the events map:

The 350 day of action is named for 350 parts per million, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere that scientists say would be the safe for the climate. (At the moment, we're at 387 parts per million and climbing fast.) Most immediately, 350 is the number world leaders need to lead with as they prepare to meet in Copenhagen this December to draft a new global climate treaty.

Quick links to more info about 350.org:


Of course, all this is leading up to the Copenhagen summit in December when 192 nations of the world gather again as they did back in 2000 and made the millennium promises which still remain unfulfilled. One particular fulfilled promise is now endangering us all unless positive and real action is taken and that is Millennium Development Goal 7 Environmental Sustainability.

What is becoming ever more apparent is the connection between global climate and poverty. CARE is thought of as an organization helping the poor in the far flung regions of the world, but it too is taking a stand against climate change.

CARE is working toward a world where people living in poverty can create opportunities despite the obstacles they face. But the reality about climate change is that it makes poor people even more vulnerable. Agricultural production is declining in the poorest developing countries, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. Less reliable rainfall is effecting planting seasons, crop growth and livestock health, and leading to increased malnutrition.

In Zimbabwe, women make up 75 percent of the labor force in agriculture, and their livelihoods depend almost exclusively on natural resources. Droughts and the occasional cyclone, combined with limited resources for irrigation, left many women either waiting for the rainy season or suffering through floods that destroyed their crops and devastated their landscape. CARE worked with them to better manage their scarce water resources and modify their farming techniques in order to adapt to new climate conditions.

As President Obama told the United Nations recently, "Developing nations are already living with the unfolding effects of a warming planet: famine and drought, disappearing coastal villages and the conflict that arises from scarce resources. Their future is no longer a choice between a growing economy and a cleaner planet, because their survival depends on both."

The international community is negotiating a new agreement to guide global efforts to address climate change. These negotiations will conclude in Copenhagen, Denmark, in fewer than 50 days! The United States must help lead those efforts and forge strong agreements that cap emissions to prevent catastrophic warming and respond effectively to climate change affects already in motion.

Please contact your senators today and urge them to take the necessary steps to make the United States a global leader in the fight against climate change!

P.S. CARE has launched a new Web site just about climate change. Click here to view all the resources we have made available.

Millennium Bloggers (more at the Wiki)

Global News Sources

The Other Blog - My Pathways to New Paradigms

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