Córdoba, Argentina -- By late last Friday afternoon in Argentina's second largest city, the bi-annual summit of Mercosur had officially wrapped. But on a dusty rugby field at a nearby university, the changing face of this South American economic alliance was on full display.
"North American imperialism is endangering the welfare of the human species on this earth," said Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, addressing thousands of chanting, banner-waving demonstrators who had come to hear him speak along with Cuban President Fidel Castro. "Imperialism is international, and the solution must be international, too."
The ever growing buzz over alternative energy sources received a major boost last January, when President Bush confessed to America's oil addiction in his State of the Union Address. But since then, amidst all the speculation about a cleaner, greener tomorrow, one thing has been notably absent: an honest assessment of where we are now, and where current trends show us going in the coming years. In his forthcoming book Big Coal: The Dirty Secret Behind America's Energy Future, author Jeff Goodell paints a key piece of this picture. As he illustrates, the coal industry is booming, a reality with implications for the global climate, human health, and the consolidation of the energy sector.
In A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future, Roger Gottlieb documents an important piece of the broadening environmental movement: the religious community. In recent years, support for environmental causes in the religious circles has grown considerably, and today it is limited by neither geography nor religious affiliation. Through such groups as the National Religious Partnership on the Environment, movement leaders seek to bring a new moral dimension to environmental issues: if the earth is God's creation, they say, then the implications of befouling it go beyond science into ethical and religious realms.
FEELING GREEN. The Center for American Progress partnered with The American Prospect this morning to host a discussion on forming and implementing policies for a post-petroleum society. The event was an offshoot of a recent Prospectspecial report that featured articles on several facets of the issue, from environmental health to farm subsidies to the possibility of a populist political movement fueled by the growth of renewable energy.
In San Antonio, organizers for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are gathering commitment cards from city and county employees. In Houston, union negotiators are preparing to bargain on behalf of some 5,300 janitors. And in Washington last week, Eliseo Medina was smiling.
That's because Medina, the executive vice president of SEIU, is at the helm of the nation's largest labor union, which in recent months has launched aggressive recruitment and bargaining campaigns in ten southern and southwestern states. The campaigns, which stretch from Nevada to the Florida panhandle, are part of a larger effort to revitalize the labor movement in regions that have been historically hostile to organized labor.