WASHINGTON - April 22 - BERN JOHNSON, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.elaw.org
Today is Earth Day. Johnson is the executive director of the U.S. office of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, which works with activist attorneys in 60 countries to protect the environment through law. He said today: "Not only has the current administration abandoned environmental protection at home, but it is pressuring other countries to weaken environmental protections...."
KIMBERLY LARSON, email@example.com, www.environmentcalifornia.org
Deputy political director of State Public Interest Research Groups, Larson said today: "Los Angeles has the largest municipal utility in the country and only 3 percent comes from renewable energy; over 50 percent comes from coal." She helped organize a recent letter signed by 15 prominent members of the entertainment industry calling on Los Angeles to have 20 percent renewable energy by 2017, a goal set by the state.
COLLINS MAGALASI and MARIE CLARKE, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.mejn.org.mw, email@example.com, www.jubileeusa.org
National coordinator of the Malawi Economic Justice Network, Magalasi is in D.C. for the next several days as the World Bank and International Monetary Fund have their spring meetings this weekend and various groups organize educational events and protests. He said today: "We're calling for debt cancellation on the IMF and World Bank's 60th anniversary. Malawi receives $90 million in aid each year but pays out $162 million in debt service to the IMF, World Bank and other wealthy creditors. Africa pays out $15 billion each year in debt service to the IMF, World Bank and other wealthy creditors, which is more than it receives in aid, loans or investment." Clarke is national coordinator of Jubilee USA, the U.S. arm of the international movement for debt cancellation.
NANCY ALEXANDER, ROBERTO BISSIO and SHALMALI GUTTAL, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.servicesforall.org, www.socwatch.org.uy/en, www.focusweb.org
Based in India, Guttal is coordinator of Focus on the Global South. She has lived in Laos and Cambodia and will be arriving in D.C. late Thursday. Bissio is executive director of Social Watch, an organization based in Uruguay focusing on poverty eradication and gender equality. Director of the Citizens' Network on Essential Services, Alexander said today: "The IMF and World Bank push countries toward economic liberalization and privatization of essential services like health, water and electricity. Often, they promote these policies in the absence of regulation. The IMF and World Bank undercut democratic processes when they enter into agreements with finance ministries behind closed doors. Parliaments and citizens are often asked to 'rubber stamp' the policies that the World Bank and the IMF are willing to finance. Many countries desperately need lines of credit to these institutions in order to service their huge debts. When the IMF and World Bank blackball a government, it is left to 'swing in the breeze,' cut off from most finance. Hence, most governments decide to stay in their good graces."