Before the official torch of the Olympic Games is even lit, several other torch relays will have been completed in the name of those romantic notions that the Games purport to embody. Olympic Dream for Darfur, an activist group protesting China's complicity in the genocide that plagues the western region of Sudan, has organized the International Genocide Relay to focus on the survivor communities of modern genocides as a way to show the world what happens when the international community looks away. As a gesture of solidarity, other Darfur advocacy groups also focused on the Beijing-Khartoum connection have organized similar relays the world over.
Nearly 20 years ago, Bill McKibben wrote the first major book on global warming, The End of Nature. He and the Step It Up team, a small group of young environmental activists based in Vermont, have recently completed the first-ever guidebook on how to organize and carry out political action on the issue of climate change, Fight Global Warming Now: The Handbook for Taking Action in Your Community. The book features a companion Web site at StepItUp2007.org, making the entire project sort of an update of Saul Alinsky for the Internet era.