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On the eve of the South Carolina Democratic primary, some battles are being fought on stage, and others in the parking lot.

This primary season, leading up to arguably the most important presidential election in recent history, has been a circus. Even outside the candidate events, voters waiting in line to cheer Huckabee or Obama might see confederate-flag-jacket-donning Ron Paul supporters espouse southern pride, orange-shirted volunteers collect petitions about Darfur, and PETA organizers dressed up as pigs holding puzzling signs that say “Stop Global Warming, Tax Meat.” And while all the presidential campaigns try to capture the media’s attention by printing more and bigger signs, and turning out louder supporters, they can’t quite keep the menagerie at bay.

In a way, this is all good for democracy — it shows that volunteers and organizations are pressuring candidates on specific issues, many of which the candidates have not sufficiently addressed on the stump or in debates. Politicians have a knack for beating around the bush. But, when a corporate-funded group joins the cast, as the eu... Read more

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  • It’s time to throw down on the home court

    Post by Richard Graves and Erin Condit-Bergren, U.S. youth delegation.

    Nusa Dua, Bali. We have been sitting outside the closed conference rooms where delegates from around the world engage in the grueling process of working out an international climate policy, line by line. Campaigners, delegates, and journalists mill about, trading rumors and whispering strategy. Everyone has been working nonstop for two whole weeks, and it all has come down to this one long session.

    The milling crowd reflects nothing of the nuance of the international negotiations, which will determine the future of international climate change policy. Instead, the din reveals the clanking of glasses and the milling hubbub of various national representatives, sound and fury, signifying nothing. The air may be charged, but what exactly are we all waiting for? Everyone is as edgy and nervous as an expectant father banished from the maternity room, yet there will be no agreement born today. At the moment, all we hope for is a plan to negotiate another plan.

    Why on earth are we here at 2:00 a.m.? We know that in the end, despite all our efforts at the conference and over the last year, the White House delegates will ignore the will of the American people and even the plight of their own children. The sad truth is that while we have done so much over the last year and won so many victories, when we try to get our own government to represent us it is like we are the nagging conscience they have grown comfortable ignoring.

  • Blogging from Al Gore’s speech in Bali

    Post by Richard Graves, U.S. youth delegate and editor of It's Getting Hot in Here

    As I wrote this post, I was listening to Al Gore give his speech at the U.N. Climate Negotiations. It had been a long trip here, and despite the schedule and the heat I was still excited. As we sat in the audience, we spoke with Kevin Knobloch from UCS and watched Kelley trying to talk with U.S. representative Paula Dobriansky ... but we were all here to listen to Al Gore.

    I was surprised to hear him lead with a reference from the Holocaust, but it hit home. How can we ignore those who are the harbingers of the threat of climate change. People can't ignore stories of people like Claire Antrea, a young nun from Kiribati whose home is being flooded. These threats are coming for us, and the sense of urgency must come from the fact the science is changing so fast that none of us, even in the developed world, can assume we are safe.

    This is a powerful idea, and one that seems to be coming true.

  • What happens to a woman without a country?

    By Amanda McKenzie, national coordinator of the Australian Youth Climate Coalition.


    Along with 10 other young Australians, I traveled to Bali to bring the voice of Australia's youth to the U.N. Climate Change Conference. We have been reminding world leaders that our future is threatened. However, my personal concerns about my future were eclipsed when a young woman named Claire from the small island nation of Kiribati stood up in front of 200 international youth and told her story. For Claire, climate change is more than a future concern. It is right here, right now.

    Youth from all over the world, including Australia, had come together to share their stories and successes in raising awareness and taking action on climate change in their home countries. Every participant was humbled by Claire, who offered her heartfelt thanks to all of us for our efforts. Her home, only two meters above sea level, is rapidly being inundated by the rising ocean. Two islands that make up Kiribati have already been submerged. Claire's island, home, culture, and future are all under imminent threat from climate change. It is likely that her entire nation will have to be evacuated in the near future. Where do you go when your country simply vanishes?

    Claire's voice, and the voices of the Pacific, are largely absent from the U.N. Climate Change Conference. These nations are small in terms of their size, population, wealth, and greenhouse-gas emissions. That's the irony: those who have contributed the least -- and benefited the least from the extraction and burning of fossil fuels -- will suffer first. Kiribati will be underwater before the bulk of the Australian population realizes that climate change is the most serious issue on the planet.

  • Grassroots mobilizes over the weekend at int’l climate conference

    Post by Will Bates, Stepitup 2007

    The weekend has finished, and countries are diving into their second week in Bali of chit-chatting about what to do about climate change. While we may not be seeing much bold action so far at this round of negotiations, we know that global public pressure for urgent action is beginning to mount ...


    Saturday was the third annual International Day of Action on Climate Change, which the Global Climate Campaign helped coordinate in more than 85 countries. Local groups and international activists have carried forth the message for urgent action in a big way here in Bali.