TED SICKINGER – Controversy over foreign meddling in the 2016 Election has been swirling around Washington D.C. since the day Donald Trump was elected president. But some southern Oregon residents are convinced they’ve got their own case of foreign interference. And if it’s not OK for the Russians, they say, why would it be OK for Canadians?
SHARON LERNER – The people who wrote an ordinance banning the aerial spraying of pesticides in western Oregon last year arenâ€™t professional environmental advocates. Their group, Lincoln County Community Rights, has no letterhead, business cards, or paid staff. Its handful of core members includes the owner of a small business that installs solar panels, a semi-retired Spanish translator, an organic farmer who raises llamas, and a self-described caretaker and Navajo-trained weaver. And yet this decidedly homespun group of part-time, volunteer, novice activists managed a rare feat:
SARAH FREEMAN-WOOLPERT – Among the most important developments for the peace movement in the last year is the formation of broad coalitions. According to international scholar-activist Simone Chun, 2018 marked â€œthe first time we saw a formidable, sustaining coalition with major American peace activists and the Korean activist communities.â€ These coalitions have allowed actors to coordinate strategically in pushing for clear goals, like a formal declaration ending the Korean War and sustained diplomacy on a path to peace. These coalitions have also been key in elevating a range of voices, particularly those of Koreans, women and people of color, who have often been marginalized from the mainstream policy debates in Washington D.C.
JOHN LAFORGE – he World Nuclear Association says its goal is â€œto increase global support for nuclear energyâ€ and it repeatedly claims on its website: â€œThere have only been three major accidents across 16,000 cumulative reactor-years of operation in 32 countries.â€ The WNA and other nuclear power supporters acknowledge Three Mile Island in 1979 (US), Chernobyl in 1986 (USSR), and Fukushima in 2011 (Japan) as â€œmajorâ€ disasters. Claiming that these radiation gushers were the worst ignores the frightening series of large-scale disasters that have been caused by uranium mining, reactors, nuclear weapons, and radioactive waste. Some of the worldâ€™s other major accidental radiation releases indicate that the Big Three are just the tip of the iceberg.
ROBERT ALVAREZ – Though the Cold War is long over, the Energy Departmentâ€™s antiquated, contractor-dominated management systemâ€”in which safety goal posts are easily moved behind closed doorsâ€”continues to endure and, in some cases, thrive. Without the meaningful oversight of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, the nuclear weapons complex will predictably march back to a time, in the not-so-distant past, when public and worker safety was an afterthoughtâ€”with serious consequences.
KEVIN MARTIN – On September 12, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo officially certified Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates â€œ…are undertaking demonstrable actions to reduce the risk of harm to civilians and civilian infrastructure resulting from military operations of these governments.â€ This is required to allow U.S. planes to continue refueling jets for the Saudi/UAE coalition, without which it could not keep dropping bombs on targets in Yemen. Secretary of Defense James Mattis concurred with Pompeo, though congressional legislation required only Pompeoâ€™s say-so.
EDWARD B. RUST JR. – Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is critical to reduce the risks of exposure to extreme weather like the hurricanes now barreling across the Atlantic.
LAWRENCE WITTNER – Despite the soaring costs of attending American colleges and universities, their students are receiving an education that falls far short of the one experienced by earlier generations.
ANNETTE CARY – The possible collapse of a second Hanford tunnel storing radioactive waste is both more likely than thought a year ago and the effects potentially more severe, according to Hanford officials.
KEVON PAYNTER – Decades of economic and population decline, a depleted tax base, and critically underfunded city services have forced Southwest Detroiters to self-organize, establishing a local network of goods and services to fill in for missing city services. The result is a range of neighbor-to-neighbor efforts, like Detroiters Helping Each Other (DHEO), that seek to address broader needs that are going unmet by local government agencies.
ROBERT DODGE – A national collaborative grassroots coalition to abolish nuclear weapons is rapidly emerging in this country. The effort called â€œBack from the Brink: A Call to Prevent Nuclear Warâ€ started last fall after the U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was adopted by 122 nations with the U.S. and other nuclear nations boycotting.
JONATHAN HAIDT and GREG LUKIANOFF – If we want saner politics, we need to start building better foundations from the playground up.
STEPHANIE VAN HOOK – The timeless wisdom that Fred Rogers lived, and the challenge of a lifetime: to refuse the degradation that turns us into consumers, offer people dignity even while resisting their behavior, and, above all, love them as they are right now.
JARED KEYEL – If the US were to follow the rules of warfare written into US military law and treaties to which the US is a party, the US must immediately end its support for the Saudi Arabia-led war in Yemen.