Greetings from Global Exchange and welcome to the 5th edition of the Community Rights Organizing list serve!
In its first year, the Community Rights campaign at Global Exchange has grown quickly! We have active campaigns in 4 communities, and dozens of others have contacted us to see if rights-based organizing is a path for change for them.
We know that 2010 will bring important milestones for our work including passing the first law asserting community rights in California (and we hope, more than one)!
Water-the hot button issue in thirsty California-is fast becoming the community-rights flashpoint. As we report below, we think 2010 will be the beginning of change in the debate about WHO CONTROLS OUR WATER. What happens with water is headline news, and we're ready to make waves!
Click to see a 2 minute video on California campaigns!
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Thank you for your support of this critical work! Also, please let us know what you would like to see in future updates!
IN THIS ISSUE:
- PUTTING CITIZENS - NOT CORPORATIONS - IN CHARGE OF OUR WATER FUTURE.
- CAMPAIGN UPDATES: CALIFORNIA COMMUNITIES ASSERT THEIR RIGHTS!
--> MT. SHASTA, CA
--> SANTA CRUZ, CA
- DEMOCRACY SCHOOLS UPDATE
- 2009 SAN FRANISCO GREEN FESTIVAL HOSTS RIGHTS OF NATURE PANEL featuring Thomas Linzey, Mari Margil and Shannon Biggs
- RIGHTS-BASED ORGANIZING IN CANADA?
PUTTING CITIZENS - NOT CORPORATIONS - IN CHARGE OF OUR WATER FUTURE.
Did you know that:
- Every CA state water report since 1957 has stated that there is not enough water to meet current and future needs?
- Current water contracts have promised 6-10 times more water than we have?
- Industrial Agriculture uses over 85% of California's water and accounts for less than 3% of our state revenue?
- Despite the slim contribution to the state's declining economy, Big Ag continues to dominate state executive and legislative politics and demand an ever-growing share of water?
- That Big Ag and water bottlers pay far lower rates than citizens do for water?
- The California Delta-which supplies 2/3 of our state's water is not just in crisis but collapsing and that Governor Schwarzenegger has promised more dams and EVEN MORE water to Big Ag?
Corporate domination of the political process comes at the expense of our communities' health and safety, the environment and democracy - and demonstrates the structural nature of the problem of 'who' makes governing decisions in this powerful state and in whose interests those decisions continue to be made.
Creating a Wave of Change:
We're told water management is complicated and that decisions must be left to 'experts' and that our only role as residents is to conserve water and pay higher water rates, leaving no room for citizen involvement in a real debate about change.
As communities we're working with say 'no' to water bottlers, cloud seeding, water diversion and dams for Big Ag and more, and claim governing power by and for the people, a new conversation emerges about water and agriculture and who has the right to make these important decisions.
The policy group the Oakland Institute has commissioned Community Rights Director Shannon Biggs to write a report on water in California, and to outline a rights-based strategy to put people at the center of our decision-making. Look for more information in early 2010 about this groundbreaking report!
RESIDENTS OF MT. SHASTA, CA MOVING FULL SPEED AHEAD IN ASSERTING THEIR COMMUNITY'S RIGHT TO DECIDE WHAT HAPPENS TO ITS WATER
In October, more than 70 Mt. Shasta, CA residents attended one of two volunteer training sessions, and have begun to register voters and collect petition signatures on what we hope will be the first rights-based ordinance in California!
A real milestone-this ordinance will ensure that only residents will make fundamental decisions about what happens to their ground water and will prohibit corporate water bottling. The proposed law will also prohibit weather manipulation from cloud seeding. They are required to collect 15% of the registered voter population's signatures in order to either have the ordinance enacted immediately into law by the city council or, brought to a special election; but these enthusiastic volunteers are aiming instead for 50%. There is a tremendous amount of support throughout the community and residents are expecting to meet this goal and demonstrate the overwhelming support of residents!
Above: Residents in Mt. Shasta organize a volunteer training for community members to gather signatures in support of their ordinance.
Click to see a 2 minute video on California campaigns featuring work in Mt. Shasta!
--> Interested in learning more about the campaign in Mt. Shasta or getting involved? Visit our updated campaign pages! Or, email Shannon Biggs, Director of the Commuity Rights campaign!
CITIZENS IN SANTA CRUZ, CA ARE WORKING TO ASSERT THEIR COMMUNITY'S RIGHT TO DECIDE WHETHER OR NOT THEY GET SPRAYED WITH PESTICIDES
People Against Chemical Trespass (P.A.C.T.) Organizers in Santa Cruz have been working closely with Global Exchange's Shannon Biggs and Ben Price of the Legal Defense Fund on a campaign to pass a local ordinance against Bodily Chemical Trespass and Pesticides. The ordinance will prohibit corporations from spraying pesticides and engaging in chemical trespass within city limits and will assert the right of the citizens of Santa Cruz to make the decisions where they live. For more information on the campaign in Santa Cruz, or to get involved, visit the Santa Cruz campaign's website!
DEMOCRACY SCHOOL: LAYING THE FOUNDATION FOR ASSERTING COMMUNITY RIGHTS!
With rights-based organizing gaining momentum in California, our special one-day San Francisco Democracy School on November 7th was sold out, and another school held that same weekend in Santa Cruz around pesticides and chemical trespass was also sold out!
Above: Citizens from around California attended the 1-day Democracy School at Global Exchange on November 7th.
--> Interested in hosting a Democracy School in your California community? Visit our updated Democracy School web page ! Or, contact Shannon Biggs or, by phone, at (415) 575-5540
A PANEL ON THE RIGHTS OF NATURE TAKES THE FLOOR AT THIS YEAR'S SAN FRANCISCO GREEN FESTIVAL NOV.13TH-15TH, 2009
This year, on the closing day of the San Francisco Green Festival, a unique panel was held on the main stage; "The Rights of Nature: Recognizing Ecosystem Rights." The panel focused on the concept of Rights of Nature and the work that's occurring currently in both Ecuador and the U.S. to recognize the rights of nature in law. Participants in the panel included: Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil of CELDF and Shannon Biggs of Global Exchange.
--> For more information on the emerging Rights of Nature movement, please visit our website! Or, if you are interested in launching a campaign for the rights of nature in your California community, please email Shannon Biggs!
Or, if you are interested in launching a campaign for the rights of nature in your California community, please contact Shannon Biggs!
--> COMING SOON: Watch the panel presentation on the Green Festival website!
ARE CANADIAN COMMUNTIES READY TO ASSERT THEIR RIGHTS?
In mid-October, Community Rights director Shannon Biggs traveled to Canada to give the first of several presentations and trainings on this work to our colleagues at the Council of Canadians-Canada's largest citizens' organization-who are looking to bring this work to their communities and incorporate it into their current structures of law.
On November 27th-29th, Shannon Biggs will traveled to Canada again to attend and present at the Blue Summit in Ottawa - a conference that brings together water activists from all over Canada to strategize and discuss new ways of ensuring that water is controlled and conserved locally; not by large corporations wanting to privatize it.
--> Stay tuned for more updates on how Canada might be poised to adopt this work!