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Getting Action: Welcome to 2012

We wish all our friends and readers a very happy New Year. Read about what the Democracy Center has planned for 2012...

Welcome back to our Blog, Getting Action. We wish all our friends and readers a very happy New Year and hope that 2012 will be a great year for each of you and for the work for social and environmental justice that each of you do. This week the Democracy Center team begins to reassemble itself from scattered visits to distant parts to see family and friends, and to actually have a life. So as we get newly organized for 2012, here is a review of what we will be up to, and what you can read about here, in the weeks and months ahead.

Advocacy Development Projects: Here, There and Everywhere

Next week I will be in Vietnam, to lead an advocacy development project on children’s rights with the staff of UNICEF there. This is part of a global partnership between the Democracy Center and UNICEF to strengthen the work of children’s rights advocates across the globe. In the past year we have done workshops with children’s rights advocates from more than three-dozen countries, work that has taken me to the Middle East, Eastern and Western Europe, the U.S, and elsewhere. Later this year we’ll be doing more advocacy workshops across Africa.

We are also planning a series of workshops and events later this year across the U.S., especially with our friends on the front lines of the fight against corporate power and tackling the rough terrain of getting real action on climate change. We will keep you posted here on the Blog as our plans develop. Meanwhile, here is a library of some of the materials we use for these projects, including a slide show on advocacy strategy.

Climate Change: Reports from Bolivia, California, and a New Effort on Climate Change and Children

The crisis of global climate change will be at the center of our work in the coming year. Bolivia is one of the Earth’s unfortunate ‘ground zeros’ for climate change impact and Leny, Aldo and Shawn have been traveling across the country to document one of climate change’s most dire effects – its impacts on water and what that means for vulnerable communities. In the coming months we will be publishing a report, a video and multimedia presentations on how climate change is rearranging the planet’s fragile water system and what that means in the lives of real people. If you haven’t already seen it, be sure to check out our video on Bolivia’s melting glaciers.

In our effort to provoke a deeper discussion about strategic advocacy on climate issues, we will be releasing a case study on the lessons learned from the victory a year ago by environmental groups in California, who beat back a right-wing measure (Proposition 23) to repeal the state’s progressive climate law. We will also be working with our friends in UNICEF and other organizations on a project to put the spotlight on how climate change is one of the most fundamental children’s issues of our time. Maddy is planning a project interviewing young people in Europe and Bolivia and we will share their voices with you here. And our newest team member, Ben Brouwer, is working on a set of profiles of climate action groups we think you should get to know.

Corporate Power: Taking Action on Global Trade Courts

Those of you who have followed the Democracy Center’s work for a while were probably a part of the global campaign we helped lead that forced the Bechtel Corporation to drop its $50 million World Bank lawsuit against Bolivia following the Cochabamba Water Revolt. This year we will be joining with social justice organizations across the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa to launch a Day of Action aimed at the global trade rules that allow corporations like Bechtel, Phillip Morris, and others to wage legal war against people and nations that adopt policies to protect their economic and the public health. Stay tuned here for more on those plans as they develop and if you haven’t seen it, have a look at the new video produced by the Democracy Center and the Institute for Policy Studies on how these trade rules can make global corporations even more powerful than governments.

That’s what we’ll be up to in this New Year, as well as much more. So please keep reading, keep commenting, and good luck and best wishes to everyone in 2012!


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