Thursday, July 24, 2008


Chen Guangchengwas jailed fordefending womenwho were sterilizedagainst their will.

China's leadership recently ordered local governments to go "all out" to prevent civilian protesters from tarnishing the Olympic Games in Beijing next month.Can you help Amnesty International go "all out" to focus world attention on the peaceful activists languishing in Chinese prisons by Helvetica, sans-serif; TEXT-DECORATION: underline" href="">making a donation to our China Olympics Legacy Campaign today?Chen Guangcheng is one of the courageous activists Amnesty International is working to free. The blind human rights defender and legal advisor was arrested in 2005 for filing a lawsuit on behalf of thousands of women in Shandong Province who endured forced abortions and sterilizations to meet local birth quotas.Chen's wife and lawyers were barred from appearing in court to defend him - and after a 1-day trial he received a 4-year prison sentence. Chen's situation remains grim, as he's reportedly been beaten in captivity. He won the Magsaysay award - described as Asia's Nobel Prize - in July 2007 for defending human rights. But Chinese authorities even prevented Chen's wife from traveling to the Philippines to accept the prize on his behalf.


SANTA BARBARA -- Teenager Erik Choquette wrote and created a remarkable animated video to claim the $1,000 first prize in the 2008 Swackhamer Disarmament Video Contest.

Friday, July 18, 2008


PEPFAR, the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, was reauthorized by the Senate this past Wednesday in a dramatic 80 to 16 vote. The Bill, for a five year-$48 billion global initiative to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, also overturned a 21-year-old law that bans most foreign visitors who are HIV-positive from entering or gaining permanent residence in the United States.
The original five year-$15 billion program, created in 2003 by the Bush Administration, was due to expire September 30. President Bush originally had asked Congress for $30 billion, but the House overwhelmingly voted in April to increase the total to $50 billion. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved a similar version 18-3 in May. Since then, the Bill had languished in the Senate due to the opposition of conservative Republicans mainly opposed to the amount of funding.
The size of this commitment to the global fight against AIDS is indeed impressive, but under the House bill, all of whose restrictions have now been adopted by the Senate, eligibility for funds on the part of family planning services has been seriously compromised. The bill states that none of the funding can be provided to family planning clinics or groups that perform abortions or lobby for liberalizing abortion laws, even using non-U.S. funding. The original PEPFAR contained no such language, and IPPF and others have denounced this as a de-facto extension of the Global Gag Rule to HIV/AIDS funding.
These restrictions notwithstanding, the Senate additionally lost a golden opportunity to positively and proactively link HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention to family planning programs. By this critical omission, they have failed to protect both women and young people, the two most rapidly growing groups of newly-infected individuals world-wide, and those most likely to receive education, protection and treatment in family planning facilities.
This, in spite of PEPFAR's own unequivocal reports to Congress on the centrality and effectiveness of this approach:
"PEPFAR also supports linkages between HIV/AIDS and voluntary family planning programs... Along with providing linkages to family planning programs for women in HIV/AIDS treatment and care programs, PEPFAR also works to link family planning clients with HIV prevention, particularly in areas with high HIV prevalence and strong voluntary family planning systems. Voluntary family planning programs provide a key venue in which to reach women who may be at high risk for HIV infection. PEPFAR supports the provision of confidential HIV counseling and testing within family planning sites, as well as linkages with HIV care and treatment for women who test HIV-positive. Ensuring that family planning clients have an opportunity to learn their HIV status also facilitates early up-take and access to PMTCT services for those women who test HIV-positive." (Excerpt from 2008 PEPFAR Fourth Annual Report to Congress)
Another serious limitation was the failure to fully remove the earmark for so-called abstinence-only strategies to prevent the spread of HIV. The Senate bill now calls for spending at least fifty percent of prevention funds on abstinence and be-faithful programs, and PEPFAR recipients who fail to meet this requirement will have to explain why in extensive reports to Congress. While this might seem to represent a relaxation of the original PEPFAR requirement that at least one-third of prevention funds must be spent on abstinence-only education, in practice it still constitutes a harmful, unwarranted and wasteful restriction.
The anti-prostitution pledge was also untouched by the bill. In spite of the celebrated success in lowering HIV transmission rates of prevention programs targeting sex workers, the Senate upheld a provision requiring groups fighting HIV/AIDS in other countries to publicly pledge their opposition to prostitution and sex trafficking. Sex workers, a highly marginalized group with high vulnerability to HIV infection, have been stigmatized and driven further underground by the pledge, depriving them of treatment and harming the wider prevention effort.
In a step forward however, the bill provides $10 billion to the Global Fund to Fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The Global Fund, which operates world-wide and with fewer restrictions, is under-resourced, and Republicans have long resisted attempts by Democrats to increase the U.S. contribution.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior that administers America's public lands, including the animals who call this land home.As part of its wild horse management program, the BLM has spent the past several years rounding up wild horses and keeping them in private, long-term holding facilities—which is expensive. Now, the agency wants to euthanize thousands of healthy horses, claiming it is too costly to feed and care for them.The ASPCA encourages the BLM to explore other solutions, including but not limited to reopening additional land for the horses and increasing certain contraception programs that have already proven safe and effective.
What You Can Do
Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to email a letter to your legislators in the U.S. Congress urging them to oppose the BLM’s plan to kill thousands of healthy wild horses.Thank you for taking action for America's animals.


On Monday the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued formal charges against Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir for genocide.
How Bashir will respond is unclear. His record suggests that he could take his vengeance out on Darfuris.
If that danger weren't enough, a BBC report this week revealed evidence suggesting that China, one of the Security Council's permanent five members, has been providing the weapons used to carry out the genocide.
It's never been clearer that the U.N. Security Council needs a comprehensive plan for Darfur. And its leaders need the political will to implement it.
Click here to help us reach our goal of 50,000 messages that we will deliver to the five permanent members of the Security Council on July 31.
The ICC prosecutor's charge against Bashir is the first time the court has made such a charge against a sitting head of state. The prosecutor spent years gathering evidence and found that Bashir and his government orchestrated a strategy of genocidal attacks.
And according to the prosecutor, when Bashir didn't kill with direct violence he "organized the destitution, insecurity, and harassment of the survivors. He did not need bullets. He used other weapons: rapes, hunger and fear. As efficient, but silent."
And all this happened under the nose of the U.N. Security Council. The Council has watched Bashir unleash a 5-year campaign of terror...without consequences. It hasn't sent enough peacekeepers. It hasn't provided enough equipment. And it hasn't held Bashir accountable as he defies one Security Council resolution after another.
It is time for the U.N. Security Council to finally follow through on its commitment to bring peace to Darfur.
Tell the Security Council it's time to keep its word and fulfill its moral obligation.
And after you sign the petition, click here to help us reach our goal of 50,000 messages by July 31 by telling your friends and family about our campaign.
Thank you for your help and your commitment to the people of Darfur.
Best regards,
Colleen ConnorsSave Darfur Coalition


Working women from across the country — including Lilly Ledbetter, women lawmakers, and women’s and civil rights leaders — are gathering tomorrow on Capitol Hill to urge the United States Senate to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Show your support for fair pay and send an e-mail to your Senators urging them (again) to vote “Yes” on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. >>Contact your Senators right now! About the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act Last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. was a terrible step backward for women, and for all who care about protecting workers from discrimination. It’s time for the Senate to join the House of Representatives in passing legislation that will restore the law that for decades has helped victims of wage discrimination fight for justice in the courts. In the Ledbetter case, a sharply divided Supreme Court broke with years of case law in ruling that employees can only file pay discrimination claims within 180 days of an employer’s initial decision to discriminate, even if the employer keeps discriminating in paycheck after paycheck over many years. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act would correct that ruling and restore the law so that pay claims can be filed within 180 days of each discriminatory paycheck, upholding the law’s intent. It is the only bill now before Congress that would do so. Alternative bills, such as the so-called Title VII “Fairness” Act introduced by Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, would do nothing to fix the Court’s mistaken — and harmful — view that discriminatory paychecks do not constitute “real” discrimination. Instead, the Hutchison bill accepts the Court’s flawed analysis and imposes new burdens on pay discrimination victims. A vote for the Hutchison bill is a vote against meaningful anti-discrimination protections and against holding employers accountable for pay discrimination. The House of Representatives passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act last year. This spring, the Senate fell just shy of the 60 votes needed for cloture to cut off debate and allow a vote on the merits. We need another vote in the Senate this year. We urge every Senator who opposed cloture to reconsider that position, and we urge President Bush to reconsider any plans to veto this important bill. It’s time — past time — that the United States Senate helps restore fair pay protections to our workplaces. >> Contact your Senators today! Then help spread the word — forward this email to friends and co-workers.Sincerely,Debra L. Ness, PresidentNational Partnership for Women & Families


Yohannes, a 5-year-old Ethiopian child, was screened for malnourishment and ultimately admitted to Save the Children's feeding program based on a variety of tests including his height, weight, and a measurement of his mid upper arm circumference. Credit: Save the Children/Kelley Lynch.

The global impact of soaring food prices is spreading and for some of the world’s poorest children they’re going from being hungry to facing possible starvation under worsening conditions.

In some areas of Ethiopia, drought has complicated matters and put large numbers of children and their families at risk for severe malnutrition. Malnutrition rates here are already alarmingly high, and the government estimates that some 4.5 million people are in need of emergency food assistance.

The poorest households are now resorting to drastic actions to meet their food needs. Families are pulling children from school because they cannot afford both food and school fees. Many children must now go to work. There’s little money for child health care, and some are selling key productive assets like farm animals, equipment and tools. These choices have long-term effects and risk setting back the significant strides we have made in the areas of education, child health and child survival for these children.

Save the Children is helping in Ethiopia by currently focusing on six of the worst-affected areas with life-saving, high-energy foods being distributed through emergency feeding centers. Tens of thousands of children could die if they do not receive such immediate emergency treatment.

We need your help to reach 900,000 people in Ethiopia, including 325,000 children and others around the world, who are bearing the brunt of this global food crisis.

Your donation will support Save the Children’s immediate and long-term response to the global food crisis in countries around the world.

Save the Children's long-term programs also play a critical role in mitigating the food crisis. Save the Children mobilizes communities and partner organizations to address the root causes of food insecurity. We work with children and their communities to develop their capacity to respond to and solve their most pressing food security, along with hunger and malnutrition problems.

Please respond as quickly and generously as you possibly can. There’s no time to waste. The children need our help right now. Donate now.

On behalf of the children,

Charles MacCormack
President and CEO
Save the Children

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Just hours ago The New York Times reported that the Bush administration is proposing a new regulation that could discourage doctors and health-care clinics from providing birth control to women who need it.
Pro-birth-control members of Congress are calling on the Bush administration to reconsider this terrible idea. Please let your members of Congress know that you strongly oppose this attack on birth control!
This proposed regulation deliberately confuses the definitions of contraception and abortion and could seriously jeopardize state laws and policies that protect women’s access to birth control. For example, state laws that require hospitals to provide sexual-assault survivors with access to emergency contraception could be jeopardized.
This issue makes it all the more clear why we must elect pro-choice Sen. Barack Obama as our next president. Sen. John McCain has repeatedly voted against allowing women to obtain birth control and there’s no doubt he will carry on Bush’s anti-choice legacy. Sen. Obama has a consistent record in strong support of women’s access to contraception and is the chief sponsor of legislation to make birth control more affordable.
Take action today. Don’t let the Bush administration’s attacks on birth control go unanswered.
Thank you for remaining vigilant against the Bush administration and taking action today.

Nancy KeenanPresident, NARAL Pro-Choice America

Paid for by NARAL Pro-Choice America,, and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

Saturday, July 12, 2008










Call Conyers You did it!!

Your letters and phone calls have finally pressured congress to act on impeachment. This morning Pelosi told the media that impeachment hearings may begin in the Judiciary and Kucinich introduced his new impeachment resolution this afternoon. Kucinich also held a press conference at which he said that what he wants is an opportunity to present his proposals to the Judiciary Committee. So, now it's time to push this movement through the goal line. We need to ensure that Conyers is going to follow through. Let's make sure that Committee Chairman John Conyers grants this request. Phone him now at 202-225-3951.

After Downing Street -- If you're able to speak with Conyers or his staff at any length, please remind them that Bush and Cheney and members of their administration are refusing to comply with numerous subpoenas and even contempt citations, as well as refusing to answer questions by claiming "executive privilege." During an impeachment hearing, there is no executive privilege. The Judiciary Committee should hold an impeachment hearing of Bush and Cheney on refusal to comply with oversight. It's the fastest way to justice and the only chance of establishing any oversight.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


El volcán chileno Llaima arroja lava cerca del pueblo de Cherquenco, Región de la Araucanía, 10 jul 2008.

El volcán chileno Llaima (en la foto) tomó fuerza en la madrugada del jueves, con explosiones en el cráter que elevaron material piroclástico a unos 400 metros de altura, y las autoridades no descartaron nuevas evacuaciones preventivas cerca del macizo en el sur del país.

El Llaima, uno de los tres volcanes más activos de América del Sur y a unos 700 kilómetros al sur de Santiago, la capital chilena, volvió a entrar en actividad a principios de julio, tras permanecer en calma durante cinco meses luego de una erupción a inicios de este año.

Foto: Stringer/Chile/Reuters

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


KHARTOUM, Sudan - Five peacekeepers from a joint U.N.-African Union force were killed and 17 were missing after their patrol was ambushed in northern Darfur, Sudan's state news agency reported Wednesday.

The SUNA agency quoted an unidentified official from the joint force as saying the peacekeepers were attacked Tuesday by a huge convoy of gunmen riding in 40 sport utility vehicles.
Another 18 peacekeepers were wounded, and ten U.N.-AU vehicles were destroyed, the report said.
Among those killed, three were from Rwanda, one from Ghana and one from Uganda, SUNA said. It did not give details about the gunmen.
The joint United Nations-AU force took over peacekeeping duties in Darfur earlier this year with about 9,000 soldiers and police officers.
It is authorized to have 26,000 members, but has contended with chronic shortages of staff and equipment and less-than-adequate cooperation from the Sudanese government.
The peacekeeping force has been unable to persuade the U.S. and other governments to supply attack and transport helicopters, surveillance aircraft, military engineers and logistical support it needs to safely navigate Sudan's remote western Darfur region.
Last month, four U.N.-AU staffers were assaulted and held at gunpoint in Darfur. One of the staffers was stripped of his belongings, kidnapped briefly and then released by Arab militiamen on horseback, according to a statement from the joint force
The U.N. has warned of rising banditry and insecurity in Darfur.
Attackers killed an Ugandan peacekeeper in May.

Monday, July 7, 2008


Glaciar Perito Moreno en VIVO '08 - Santa Cruz - Patagonia

El proceso se inició el viernes a la mañana, cuando una fisura en el dique de hielo que separa el Canal de los Témpanos y el Brazo Rico dejó filtrar las primeras gotas de agua, que había logrado un desnivel de casi 9 metros entre los dos lagos.
Si bien los últimos rompimientos -los de 1988, 2004 y 2006- se dieron en los meses de febrero y marzo, que coincide con una época de alta temperatura para la región, el actual fenómeno sorprende en pleno invierno, aunque ya habría un antecedente en julio, en el año 1951.
El último rompimiento, con el derrumbe total del puente de hielo, ocurrió en la madrugada del 14 de marzo de 2006, cuando unos 10.000 visitantes acudieron al lugar durante el proceso.
Con una superficie total de 195 kilómetros cuadrados y un frente de 50 a 70 metros de altura, el glaciar está formado por masas de hielo en continuo desplazamiento debido al impulso de la gravedad. Este movimiento se produce por la eliminación de hielos por fusión, evaporación o formación de témpanos.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I"Crime against the natural world is a sin," says Bartholomew I, leader of more than 300 million Orthodox Christians worldwide. "The Green Patriarch" has thrown his weight behind various international environmental causes, and urges leaders of other faiths to raise environmental awareness among their believers. The winner of both the U.S. Congressional Gold Medal and the Sophie Prize for leadership in environmental protection and sustainable development, Bartholomew I takes his "fisher of men" duty seriously: In 2003, he brought together 200 scientists, political leaders, and journalists on a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea to discuss marine preservation and the hazards of overfishing. "To protect the oceans is to do God's work," he says. "To harm them, even if we are ignorant of the harm we cause, is to diminish His divine creation."

The Dalai LamaThe 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet has been talking up environmental protection since he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989. He has said that he considers environmental issues to be among the key challenges facing humanity today -- and as an exile whose homeland is under occupation, he's a man who knows challenges. The U.K. Environment Agency named him one of the top 100 green campaigners of all time last year. This year, the Dalai Lama is offsetting emissions generated by his world tour, and at many of the stops he's stressing the importance of kindness to the planet. He has been outspoken about protecting forests and wildlife and controlling the spread of nuclear power. He calls a clean environment a basic human right, and declares, "It is therefore part of our responsibility towards others to ensure that the world we pass on is as healthy, if not healthier, than we found it."

Rev. Sally Bingham
Sally Bingham -- an Episcopal priest and the environmental minister at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, Calif. -- brings light to congregations in more ways than one. Via the Interfaith Power & Light campaign, she's been a leader in encouraging religious groups to purchase green power and conserve energy by, among other things, replacing old-style light bulbs with compact fluorescents. The Regeneration Project, which she heads, recently united leaders from Christian, Muslim, and Jewish faith groups to ask the U.S. Congress and the White House to act on global warming. Bingham previously served on the board of Environmental Defense and San Francisco's Commission on the Environment, and has earned many accolades for her work, including the Green Power Leadership Pilot Award and the 2002 Energy Globe Award. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams Use organic bread and wine for Holy Communion. Sell fairly traded products at church events. Carpool. Recycle. All of these were among the recommendations of Rowan Williams, senior clergyman of the Church of England, in "Sharing God's Planet," his 2005 report to the General Synod meeting. Williams says Christians have a moral duty to practice "sustainable consumption" and "celebrate and care for every part of God's creation." He launched a church-wide national environmental campaign, and, most recently, endorsed a booklet encouraging Christians to play their part in protecting the environment: "How Many Lightbulbs Does it Take to Change a Christian?"

Richard CizikAs vice president of governmental affairs for the U.S. National Association of Evangelicals, Richard Cizik uses his significant political sway to raise awareness about climate change and other environmental maladies. Evangelicals should "return to being people known for our love and care of the earth and our fellow human beings," says Cizik, who travels the U.S. spreading the doctrine of "creation care," a Bible-based understanding of why Christians have a duty to be environmental stewards. He's faced criticism from other evangelicals for stealing attention away from homosexuality and abortion, but Cizik remains steadfast in his earth evangelizing. "There are still plenty who wonder, does advocating this agenda mean we have to become liberal weirdos?" he says. "And I say to them, certainly not. It's in the scripture. Read the Bible."

Pope Benedict XVIIn addition to using an electric Popemobile on the grounds of solar-power-friendly Vatican City, Pope Benedict XVI has been increasingly vocal about the suffering that climate change will cause for the world's poor. "The world is not something indifferent, raw material to be utilized simply as we see fit," he has said. "Rather, it is part of God's good plan." He has said that humans must listen to "the voice of the earth," supported the celebration of a "day for the safeguarding of Creation," spoken out on the need to protect the Amazon, and denounced factory farming. In his recent Sacramentum Caritatis, he endorsed the need for environmental stewardship guided by Catholic faith: "The justified concern about threats to the environment present in so many parts of the world is reinforced by Christian hope, which commits us to working responsibly for the protection of Creation." Fazlun KhalidFounder and director of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences in Birmingham, U.K., Fazlun Khalid is recognized as the foremost expert on ecology from the Islamic perspective. He has also worked as the director of training at the Alliance of Religions and Conservation and served as a consultant for World Wildlife Fund. Khalid believes that protecting the environment is a form of worship, and that humans have a basic right to the benefits of a healthy planet. "As the guardians of Allah's creation we have a responsibility to protect the environment," he says.

Norman HabelNorman Habel is the editor and a contributing author of the Earth Bible, a Biblical interpretation that incorporates ecology, eco-ethics, and eco-theology. A professor at the School of Theology at Flinders University in Adelaide, Australia, Habel's work centers on eco-justice and reconciliation. He serves as coordinator for Season of Creation, an initiative that asks Australia's Lutheran churches to devote a month each year to celebrating creation, much as they celebrate Advent or Lent. "Many people would say it's a kind of New Age movement in many ways, and that Greenies are a little bit loony in many ways," says Habel. "But it's very clear now that more and more people see the crisis of the earth and the crisis for our planet as being something that we all have to face. It's not something that we can ignore." Rabbi Warren StoneAs rabbi of Temple Emanuel in Kensington, Md., Warren Stone has brought a religious element to discussions of the environment and politics in the Washington, D.C., metro area since 1988. Stone has long been active in efforts to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and combat climate change, and he is founder and chair of the Central Conference of American Rabbis' Committee on the Environment, co-chair of the Religious Campaign for Forest Conservation, and member of the Carbonfund advisory board. In 1997, the self-declared "environmentalist rabbi" was a United Nations delegate at the U.N. Conference on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan, where the Kyoto Protocol was forged.

Courtesy of The Evening Post, Wellington, New ZealandSister Miriam MacGillisSo a Roman Catholic nun founds a farm in New Jersey. No, it's not a joke -- it's
Miriam MacGillis, a Dominican Sister on a mission to save the planet. MacGillis is co-founder of the 226-acre Genesis Farm, a "learning center for earth studies" where "all people of goodwill" are welcomed to learn about and share a love for the earth by working the land. For nearly three decades, this "green nun" has taught impoverished youth from urban areas about organic agriculture, earth literacy, and heritage seed preservation. The farm partnered with other local groups to start the Foodshed Alliance, a grassroots effort to sustain farmers, agricultural lands, and the rural way of life in their region. In 2005, MacGillis received the Thomas Berry Foundation Award for her work.

Photo: Barbara BradenRev. Fred SmallFred Small doesn't merely preach about the sanctity of creation: he has
protested at SUV dealerships, demonstrated at the United Nations, and gotten himself arrested outside a U.S. Department of Energy building for nonviolent civil disobedience on behalf of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. A minister at First Church Unitarian in Littleton, Mass., and co-founder of Religious Witness for the Earth, Small believes faith groups need to do more to respond to environmental crises. He recently served as a lead organizer of a nine-day, 85-mile Interfaith Walk for Climate Rescue, during which more than 800 walkers called on the U.S. government to reduce globe-warming emissions 80 percent by 2050. "Living as we do, we are stealing from our children and grandchildren," says Small. "It's unconscionable."
Rev. Joel HunterAs a megachurch pastor in Longwood, Fla., and a board member of the National Association of Evangelicals, Joel Hunter might seem an unlikely candidate to spearhead a movement of religious-based environmental stewardship -- but that's exactly what he's doing. He was one of 86 evangelical Christian leaders to sign on to last year's Evangelical Climate Initiative. Last fall, he was selected as the next leader of the Christian Coalition of America, but declined because of disagreements over whether the group's priorities should be expanded to include global warming and poverty. "With God's help, we can stop global warming, for our kids, our world, and for the Lord," says Hunter, who recently was part of a coalition of more than 20 major religious groups urging the U.S. Congress and the Bush administration to take action on climate change.

Karen Baker-FletcherEco-justice theologian Karen Baker-Fletcher interprets the Bible from an environmental, African-American, and womanist perspective. In her book Sisters of Dust, Sisters of Spirit: Womanist Wordings on God and Creation, she celebrates both traditional nature and urban nature as part of God's creation. "We are responsible for giving life back to that which has given us life -- God and the elements of our planet," she writes. Baker-Fletcher is associate professor of theology at the Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University, and was keynote speaker at this year's Interfaith Creation Festival, co-sponsored by Earth Ministry.

Photo: Jim Harrison and the Heinz AwardsPaul GormanPaul Gorman is co-founder and executive director of the National Religious Partnership for the Environment, which brings a variety of American faith groups together with the goal of "caring for all creation." The partnership has reached well over 150,000 congregations, including every Catholic parish, tens of thousands of synagogues, and Protestant, Evangelical, and Eastern Orthodox churches. Gorman, who also serves on the board of trustees for the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, received the 1999 Heinz Award for the Environment for his work in bridging religion, spirituality, activism, and social justice.

Father Thomas BerryRaised in the hills of North Carolina in a family of 15, Thomas Berry entered a monastery at the age of 20 and later went on to a prodigious career as a spiritual leader, academic, and historian of the earth. An ordained Catholic priest who attests that the environmental crisis is fundamentally a spiritual crisis, the 93-year-old Berry is widely regarded as the most important eco-theologian of our time -- or, as he describes himself, an "Earth scholar" or "geologian." He spent 25 years as the director of the Riverdale Center of Religious Research in New York City, and became a well-regarded lecturer on the intersection of culture and ecology. "The destiny of humans cannot be separated from the destiny of earth," writes this widely published author, who has covered subjects including Buddhism, the religions of India, and the cosmos.

Photo: Robert C. Mora/ WireImage.comArchbishop Emeritus Desmond TutuIn a recent address to mark World Environment Day, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu asserted that world leaders who continued to ignore climate change were violating the rights of future generations. "We must act now and wake up to our moral obligations. Ignoring global warming is a sin, and the future of our beautiful planet is in our hands," said the South African Anglican cleric, a leader of the anti-apartheid movement, winner of the 1984 Nobel Peace Prize, and now an anti-AIDS activist. His commitment to human rights feeds his concern about global warming, as he notes that the poor will suffer most from the droughts, floods, and other ravages of climate change.

Calvin DeWittFor more than 25 years,
Calvin DeWitt combined his passions for biology and Christianity as director of the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies, an academic institution that promotes Christian environmental stewardship. DeWitt, who teaches environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, is also co-founder of the International Evangelical Environmental Network and former president of the Christian Environmental Council. "The Bible is an ecological handbook," DeWitt says. "I shock some of these evangelical congregations by saying Jesus almost always taught on field trips. They're thinking of him all dressed up and standing behind a pulpit in the church. Jesus was earthy."

Sallie McFagueTheologian Sallie McFague spent 30 years teaching at Vanderbilt University's Divinity School, where she united Christian theology with economics and ecology. Her many writings on the subject have included the books The Body of God: An Ecological Theology, Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril and Super, Natural Christians: How We Should Love Nature. Her work espouses an ecological liberation theology and contends that humanity should glorify God by taking care of the earth. "The planetary agenda, the well-being of the whole, is the context within which theology should operate," writes McFague.

Rev. Jim BallAs leader of the influential "What Would Jesus Drive?" campaign and a signatory to the Evangelical Climate Initiative, Rev. Jim Ball has been an active player in both public policy debates and on-the-ground social change. He's president of the Evangelical Environmental Network, a coalition of faith-based communities that believe many environmental problems are fundamentally spiritual problems. Previously, Ball served as climate-change policy coordinator for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and wrote the book Planting a Tree This Afternoon: Global Warming, Public Theology, and Public Policy.
Allen JohnsonAs the head of Christians for the Mountains, Allen Johnson rallies Christians against mountaintop-removal mining in the Appalachian Mountains. Johnson says his religious and environmental epiphany occurred while volunteering in Haiti in the early 1990s, and led him to quit his job to attend seminary. "We believe that God made this planet, that God loves the earth, God loves creation, God loves humanity, and that even though God gives us freedom to spin our destiny, God doesn't want it to be trashed," says Johnson.


Tom Morton, Jackson Hole Star-Tribune U.S. Forest Service officers pointed weapons at children and fired rubber bullets and pepper spray balls at Rainbow Family members while making arrests Thursday evening, according to witnesses. "They were so violent, like dogs," Robert Parker told reporter Deborah Stevens of the libertarian-oriented, Round Rock, Texas-based We the People Radio Network [] after the incident. "People yelled at them, 'You're shooting children,'" Parker said during an interview on the network's "Rule of Law Show." About 7,000 people have arrived at the gathering near Big Sandy in the Wind River Mountains for the annual Gathering of the Tribes, a seven-day event of fellowship, partying including illicit drug use, praying, and living on the land. They camp on Forest Service land around the country every year, but the Rainbow family's nonhierarchical methods -- no one can speak for the Rainbows, much less sign a land use permit -- often have stymied their relationships. But rarely do the tensions escalate into violence. The Forest Service's Incident Command Team in Rock Springs issued a press release Friday morning, saying officers were patrolling the main meadow of the gathering Thursday evening when they contacted a man who fled and was later caught. Another Rainbow was detained for physically interfering. Officers began to leave the area with the subjects and were circled by Rainbow participants, according to the news release from Rita Vollmer of the Incident Command Team. Ten officers were escorting the detained subjects when about 400 Rainbows surrounded the squad, and more officers were requested, according to the news release. "The mob began to advance, throwing sticks and rocks at the officers. Crowd control tactics were used to keep moving through the group of Rainbows," the news release said. . . Officers made five arrests; one officer suffered minor injuries and was cleared by a local hospital; and a government vehicle sustained damage, the news release said. . . Rainbow Family members' accounts told a different story. One member who identified himself only as Ryan told Stevens he was with his two children in his tent at the Rainbows' Kid Village north of the main meadow where the major prayer circles and dinners are held. One of the 10 officers pointed a pepper spray gun at him and his children, he said. His girlfriend was using the latrine outside when four officers came to her and asked if she was smoking marijuana. The officers then ran through the Kid Village and through its kitchen, and chaos erupted, he said. Other witnesses recounted seeing about 10 officers of the Forest Service's incident command team drag an older man from the woods near the Kid Village, according to interviews by Stevens. A woman in the village told the officers to take their guns out of the Kid Village. An officer threw that woman to the ground and pulled her head back by her hair while she was being handcuffed, one Rainbow named Rick told Stevens. "I got out and yelled, 'what the f--- are you doing?'" Rick said. "That got it started." The officers backed up in a defensive position, and some used their Tasers on Rainbows, he said. Rainbows called for their crisis management team, and Rainbow family elders urged the crowd to remain calm, he said. However, the crowd kept moving, and the Forest Service officers began randomly spraying the crowd with pepper spray bullets. The officers, with their two suspects in custody, found an exit trail from the main meadow, and the peacekeepers urged the crowd to let them go, he said. "These people deliberately, for hours, were aggressively working the camp over and working the people over," Ryan said. "They chose the kiddie village -- the one place, the kids, to take their stand and create a riot, and I bought into it. ... They were looking for an excuse to do some damage to us." Ryan's partner, Feather, told Stevens she was pepper-sprayed, and saw another Rainbow with welts all over his body. . .