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American Chronicle: Successes Sneaking Up on Us?

David Swanson
March 30, 2008

Did you realize that…?

Residents of Norco, La., poisoned by a Shell oil refinery and a Shell chemical plant, forced the company to pay the cost of residents relocating.

A housewife in Niagara Falls, N.Y., organized her community against local pollution in a campaign that led to the creation of the U.S. EPA Superfund program.

Over 100 towns in the United States have denied corporations legal personhood and constitutional rights in a campaign growing out of anger at the dumping of toxic sludge on farms. In Humboldt County, Calif., voters have chosen in a referendum to deny corporations civil and political rights, in response to a corporation-funded campaign to recall an elected official.

A poor neighborhood in Chicago denied good grocery stores has done better by creating an organic urban farm and local market. In Havana, Cuba, they’ve done the same.

North Dakota farmers have defeated efforts by Monsanto to sell genetically engineered seeds.

Loggers and environmentalists in a corner of Oregon have cooperated, resulting in better outcomes for both and new government policies for the whole Northwest.

Residents of Tallulah, La., and parents of juveniles imprisoned there have worked together to shut the prison down.

Cities and towns around the world, including in Washington and Virginia, are experimenting with allowing residents to determine how much money goes where in their governments’ annual budgets.

Hundreds of towns and cities have passed resolutions against enforcement of unconstitutional sections of the USA PATRIOT Act. (However, the act has not been repealed, and has instead been worsened further.)

Two colleges in a Minnesota town are competing to achieve greatest sustainability and independence from nonrenewable fuels. Together they’re influencing the rest of the state. And students have persuaded the International Conference of Mayors to adopt their recommendations.

More than 400 U.S. mayors have signed a pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Roanoke, Va., is among the cities leading the way.

Sweden has declared independence from oil.

The Rosebud Sioux reservation in South Dakota is building community and prosperity by building windmills. Other Native Americans are doing the same, harnessing wind and sun.

Local businesses in Utah, threatened by corporate big-box stores, have created a “Buy Local First” campaign with tremendous success.

A major California winery has done well by going organic and urging others to do the same.

Trailing Europe but catching on, the United States now has about 300 worker-run businesses. If anything can encourage democratic behavior outside the office, I would think it would be democracy within it.

These stories and more are told in “Building the Green Economy,” interspersed with theory, analysis, vision, resources, and tips on what an individual can do to get involved. I would add one more tip: Recycle your television and read some books like these. Those of us focused on national approaches can use the fortification of learning about successes, and need to remember the connections between local and national work. Those focused on the local level may want to consider this overview and pause to reflect on how their steps forward can avoid the two-steps back that Washington is always trying to hand them.

For the full article go to…

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/56986

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