Here are some interviews on Democracy Now! that offer some assessment of Earth Day 2011:
- Vandana Shiva and Maude Barlow on the rights of Mother Earth. “People are already joking: ‘Oh, you’re talking about rights for ticks and rights for rats.’ This is the right wing mocking what we’re doing. We’re talking about survival here. We’re talking about human and other species’ survival on this planet, if we don’t change the way we see the world, the way we see nature, the way we see water. It is not a big resource for us.It is the essential—these are the essential elements of a living ecosystem that gives us all life, and this is about survival…. For me, earth democracy means, first, recognizing the fundamental fact that we are part of nature, that human rights and nature’s rights are not separate, because we are just one strand in this amazing mystery and miracle that the earth has created in terms of life. But earth democracy also means democracy in the everyday life of people, exercised daily by ordinary people, not the once in a five-year or four-year election, because everywhere around the world, we are seeing, you can bring someone to power, and they don’t represent your will anymore.
“So, democracy under corporate control has mutated from “of the people, by the people, for the people” into ‘of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations.’ In this country, I watched how Wisconsin suddenly became a playground for destruction of democracy and destruction of the fundamental rights of collective bargaining and public services and public domain, only because there is this corporate pressure on privatizing everything and preventing people from exercising their democratic rights. So, it’s the democratic rights of the people and the earth versus the fictitious corporate rights that corporations have assigned to themselves, and now they’re costing the earth and people too much. They’re bringing nothing in return. It used to be the case that when General Motors put out a car, it gave employment. It even gave salaries so people could buy that car. Today, the corporations give nothing back to society. They just take from nature, take from society, and want to rubbish this planet and rubbish our lives. And I think people are getting fed up. The entire rising in the Arabic world is part of that fed-upness.”
- Hold both parties to high standards”: Van Jones, Obama’s ex-green jobs czar. “You have to make a decision not to wait your turn. Dr. King was 25 years old in Montgomery. The Freedom Riders were 19 and 20 years old. The founders themselves were in their twenties and in their thirties. You have to make a decision not to wait your turn. Don’t let anybody tell you you’re going to be the leaders of tomorrow. Tomorrow is not promised. You must be the leaders of today, Generation Power Shift.”
- Now is our time to take a stand”: Tim DeChristopher’s message to youth climate activists at Power Shift 2011. ”We could send 30 people onto a mountaintop removal site, shut it down temporarily, cost them a lot of money, start to clog up the court systems of West Virginia, and we could send 30 people the day after that and the day after that and the day after that, every day for a year. And I don’t think we would ever get to that year point, because mountaintop removal would end before that. Long before we got to the end of that year, Barack Obama would be forced into a choice between either ending the war against Appalachia or bringing in federal troops to continue it. And for all my disgust—for all my disgust and disappointment with Barack Obama, I don’t think he would bring in federal troops to defend a mountaintop removal site. I think he would end it before it got to that point. And it’s our job as a movement to force him into that position.”
- Bill McKibben of 350.org calls House vote on global warming “One of the most embarrassing votes Congress has ever taken. ”Last week, the House voted 248 to 174 to pass a resolution saying global warming wasn’t real. It was one of the most embarrassing votes that Congress has ever taken. They believe—they believe that because they can amend the tax laws, they can amend the laws of nature, too. But they can’t.”