Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020;
or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
The VP Debate
Author of the book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism , Goldberg was recently in Alaska and wrote the pieces " Sarah Palin, 21st Century Theocrat " and " Palin's preacher problem: Antisemitic remarks are not uncommon in churches that Sarah Palin has attended in Alaska ."
McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical
Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He worked as a CIA
analyst for 27 years and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran
Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. McGovern recently wrote the
piece " To Joe Biden: Time for Confession ."
Director of the new film "In Debt We Trust" and author of the new book Plunder , Schechter calls Biden "the senator from MasterCard/MBNA" and Palin's nomination a "triumph of entertainment over news."
A nationwide consortium, the Institute for Public Accuracy (IPA) represents an unprecedented effort to bring other voices to the mass-media table often dominated by a few major think tanks. IPA works to broaden public discourse in mainstream media, while building communication with alternative media outlets and grassroots activists.
"This is a project of our generation, and we're not gonna stop until every school across the country has a Green New Deal and the kind of schools we deserve," said a 16-year-old student.
Youth advocates with the Green New Deal for Schools campaign notched up their first victory on Tuesday when Colorado's Boulder Valley School District Board of Trustees unanimously approved a resolution drafted by students at Fairview High School.
"This is a project of our generation, and we're not gonna stop until every school across the country has a Green New Deal and the kind of schools we deserve," said 16-year-old Emma Weber, a student leader in the district. "The Green New Deal for Schools is the kind of action and urgency that we need in order to address the climate crisis and prepare students to live with the realities of it."
that the board's president, Kathy Gebhardt, "urged the students to take their advocacy beyond Boulder Valley to local governments and the state Legislature, saying most school districts in the state are struggling to pay teachers and don't have the resources to add solar panels or buy electric buses."
Colorado Public Radio on Tuesday laid out the long history of such policies in the district, which serves over 30,000 students:
Resolutions on the environment go back to 1978. In 2009, BVSD created a sustainability action plan, with updates in later years with a long-term goal of reducing greenhouse gases by 80% and also committed to a goal of zero net energy by 2050. It was one of the first school districts in the nation to make such a commitment.
As a part of its efforts to track carbon and lower emissions, the district has increased the number of buildings with renewable energy, purchased 19 electric buses, reduced greenhouse gas emissions by a quarter, reduced water consumption by 11% in three years, and hit a target of diverting 50% of waste from landfills. BVSD has already become a leader in providing locally sourced lunch to students.
"The students' resolution asks the district to continue and amplify efforts toward reducing carbon emissions, asking for all school buildings and buses to run on renewable energy," CPR added. "By 2026, they want a comprehensive curriculum for all students in all grades to develop sustainability knowledge and behaviors, including information on how climate change affects communities differently."
The Sunrise Movement—which is behind the national Green New Deal for Schools campaign—
on social media that the resolution also commits the district to "pathways to green union jobs for students, and increased collaboration with local, state, and federal agencies to strengthen responses to climate disasters."
With the resolution, the board is also asking U.S. President Joe Biden—who
plans to skip
COP28, the United Nations climate summit beginning this week—and Congress "to support the
Green New Deal for Public Schools Act
, reinforcing the call for a nationwide commitment to an education that prepares our generation to navigate the realities of the climate crisis,"
Spearheaded by U.S. Sen.
(D-Mass.) and Rep.
(D-N.Y.), a former educator and principal, the legislation
invest $1.6 trillion to transform the country's education system while "creating 1.3 million jobs and eliminating 78 million metric tons of carbon emissions" over a decade.
While the win in Colorado was a first for the campaign, Sunrise and students across the United States are pushing for more. The group noted Wednesday that young people in dozens of districts—from Bozeman, Montana to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania—have recently testified at school board meetings and attended daylong trainings in cities including Chicago, Illinois; Detroit, Michigan; and Washington D.C.
"Shoutout to the incredible students and their tireless advocacy that led to the Green New Deal for Schools resolution, which passed the Boulder Valley school board this week!" Bowman said Wednesday on social media. "Thank you for your incredible work. Now let's make this happen everywhere!"
"The people have spoken and expressed that they don't want more mines, that they want sustainable economic development, and have no intention of destroying the country for profit," said one campaigner.
Indigenous and environmental campaigners this week hailed a landmark win for the Rights of Nature movement, the Panamanian Supreme Court's unanimous ruling that the contract for the Cobré mineral mine—one of the world's largest—is unconstitutional and must be shut down.
The November 24 ruling against Minera Panamá, a subsidiary of the Canadian company First Quantum Minerals, followed weeks of nationwide protests against the open-pit mine, which began operations in 2019 and where mainly copper, but also gold, silver, and molybdenum, are extracted. Opponents say the mine threatens area water supplies. A gunman shot and killed two people at a protest against the mine earlier this month.
Last year, the Cobré mine produced over 86,000 tons of copper, approximately 1% of the world's total production, 5% of Panama's gross domestic product, and 75% of the Central American country's export revenue. More than 2% of Panama's workforce is employed at the mine.
Cobré—which is located in a biodiverse area on Panama's Caribbean coast—will now shut down as a result of the ruling.
"The Panamanian people have spoken," Kherson Ruiz, executive director of the London-based Sustainable Development Foundation, told Mongabay . "The people have spoken and expressed that they don't want more mines, that they want sustainable economic development and have no intention of destroying the country for profit."
Referring to his introduction of Panama's Rights of Nature law , Juan Diego Vásquez Gutiérrez, an independent—and, at age 27, the youngest—member of Panama's National Assembly, said Wednesday that "I am very happy to have been part of a fundamental legal instrument to end the metal mining industry in the country."
"This is one of many tangible effects that we must repeat in defense of the environment thanks to legislation like this," Vásquez added.
Rengifo Navas Revilla, secretary of the National Coordinator of Indigenous Peoples of Panama, said in a statement that "when all this nature is contaminated, we all die."
"Even the planet itself, even Mother Earth herself, dies," he added. "This is the principle that has been instilled in us and that is why we continue to fight."
Since Ecuador became the first country to constitutionally enshrine the Rights of Nature in 2008, more than 30 nations have taken similar actions to protect their environment.
The advocacy groups Leatherback Project and Earth Law Center noted Wednesday that the Panamanian ruling "comes after a similar blocking of a copper mine earlier this year in Ecuador, where a provincial court ruled a mining project violated the constitutional Rights of Nature in the Intag Valley of the tropical Andes."
Constanza Prieto Figelist, Latin America legal director at Earth Law Center—which provided input and expertise on the Rights of Nature as the law was being drafted—said of the Panama ruling that "this case demonstrates that under a Rights of Nature framework, governments must give stronger consideration to the health and intrinsic value of nature when overseeing mining and other activities, elevating the interests of species and ecosystems to a higher status alongside human interests."
"The case also shows that the Rights of Nature can be an effective tool to protect the environment where traditional laws might fall short," she added. "We hope this will inspire other governments to give nature a formal voice and rights in the legal system, as Panama did."
"Only a negotiated cease-fire can pave the way to addressing the current humanitarian crisis, the release of all hostages, and a long-term solution to this conflict," said one campaigner.
Almost a million Americans signed petitions from half a dozen civil society organizations demanding that U.S. President Joe Biden and Congress push for a lasting cease-fire in Israel's war on the Gaza Strip.
Amnesty International USA , Avaaz, Demand Progress , Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) , MoveOn , and Oxfam America circulated similar petitions in response to the war, which Israel launched after a Hamas-led attack on October 7.
The groups delivered the petition signatures to the White House on Wednesday as the world waited to see if a temporary truce would be extended. The initial four-day pause in fighting—during which Hamas freed some hostages taken last month and Israel released some Palestinian prisoners —was extended by two days on Monday, but as of press time, no new announcement had been made.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Tel Aviv on Wednesday to meet with Israel's leaders to discuss extending the temporary cease-fire, during which two American Israelis have been released— Liat Atzili and Abigail Idan , who is 4 years old.
"It's inspiring to see the groundswell of support across the United States for an immediate cease-fire to end Israel's reckless military campaign and the total blockade of Gaza."
"The resumption of fighting for Palestinians means that there's going to be no humanitarian aid that will be allowed into the Gaza Strip. It also means there are going to be more casualties and victims alongside mass destruction of civil infrastructure and civilian homes," Al Jazeera 's Abu Azzoum reported from Khan Younis. Israeli forces have already killed 15,000 people in Gaza.
MoveOn executive director Rahna Epting said in a statement Wednesday that "civilians are being killed at what is being described a 'historic pace,' the majority women and children. The loss of life is devastating."
"We must end collective punishment, return those taken hostage or wrongfully imprisoned, and let in humanitarian aid," Epting argued. "The current pause is a good step toward what is needed: a permanent cease-fire."
Demand Progress foreign policy adviser Cavan Kharrazian similarly asserted that "there is no military solution to the current conflict, and further violence will continue to erode the safety and security of Palestinians and Israelis. Only a negotiated cease-fire can pave the way to addressing the current humanitarian crisis, the release of all hostages, and a long-term solution to this conflict."
Paul O'Brien, executive director of Amnesty International USA, pointed out that the nearly 1 million people who signed the petitions "represent just a fraction of Americans who support a cease-fire today, as reflected by poll after poll."
"They know that the way the Israeli military and Hamas have been engaging in this conflict is in violation of international law," he continued. "They know that a short pause in the fighting—even as it is welcome—will do nothing to assure that this will change."
Hassan El-Tayyab, FCNL's legislative director for Middle East policy, said that "it's inspiring to see the groundswell of support across the United States for an immediate cease-fire to end Israel's reckless military campaign and the total blockade of Gaza."
"It's critical that Congress and the administration listen to these voices, and the vast majority of U.S. citizens, who want an end to this nightmare before more innocent lives are lost," El-Tayyab added.
Since October 7, the list of members of Congress calling for a Gaza cease-fire has grown to about four dozen—though as
's Prem Thakker
Wednesday, "a closer look at some lawmakers' statements raises questions about whether they are truly pushing for an end to the violence."
The United States already gives Israel $3.8 billion in annual military aid—and after the Hamas attack, Biden announced his "unwavering" support for the country and asked Congress for $14.3 billion for its war effort.
Oxfam's petition declares that "President Biden and Congress must help immediately de-escalate this dangerous situation; failing to do so will unwittingly place a U.S. seal of approval on the suffering that is sure to only deepen."
El-Tayyab highlighted that "every major humanitarian organization working in Gaza is pleading with the international community to reach an immediate cease-fire and open up aid access so they can continue their vital work in the Gaza Strip."
Throughout Israel's air and ground assault on Gaza, Israeli forces have waged what some critics have called a "war against hospitals," three-quarters of which have had to shut down . Margaret Harris, a World Health Organization spokesperson, warned Tuesday that "eventually we will see more people dying from disease than from bombardment if we are not able to put back together this health system."
The civil society groups behind the petitions shared the testimony of a practicing nurse volunteering in a Gaza hospital: "We heard nearby explosions. I rushed to assist, only to discover it was my own family. Witnessing their extraction was heartbreaking. Some lost their lives, while others were wounded. They started pulling out dead children from under the rubble in front of me."
"This is the hardest war Gaza has ever experienced. It's the first I witnessed such injuries: amputations, burns, unprecedented in its severity," the nurse added. "Dealing with 60 to 70 people simultaneously in an emergency room designed for 13 or 14 beds poses a challenge. We have no choice but to treat some on the floor."
As Oxfam's Scott Paul put it Wednesday: "We need a permanent cease-fire in order to enable humanitarian organizations to deliver much-needed aid safely and securely. More violence is not going to produce the safety and human rights that Israelis and Palestinians deserve, but it is sure to immeasurably deepen suffering in Gaza."