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A Taxing Solution to the Greatest Challenge of Our Time

Could a Tax on Carbon Pollution Maintain the Health of our Country?

Ben Franklin said it best—nothing is certain, “except death and taxes.”

Like most Americans, we submit our 1040s to maintain the health of our nation. However, we’d personally rather decrease our income tax and instead pay a fee that reduces carbon pollution and could preserve the planet.

The carbon-intensive oil, gas, and coal industries are stoking climate change. According to a new UN report, the threats to our civilization are enormous. Crop failures, the top concern in the UN’s report, will cause widespread starvation in all parts of the world. Countries will face a cascade of destabilizing events: severe water shortages, heat waves, floods, droughts, wildfires, intense storms, rising sea levels and other catastrophes on an unprecedented scale. Civil wars and conflicts between nations will increase as people compete for scarce natural resources.

The good news is that while it is too late to avoid climate change — it’s already happening — humanity can still temper its force. One of the simplest ways to slow the pace of climate change is by levying a fee on greenhouse gas emissions.

Putting a price on burning oil, gas, and coal that reflects the damage inflicted on the environment will make renewable energy alternatives (like solar, geothermal, and wind) and energy-reducing investments more competitive.

Our friend Alan Rushforth lives near Philadelphia and started a small solar-powered water-heating business a few years ago. Even with state and federal subsidies, it took Rushforth Solar’s customers five to seven years to break even compared with the cost of installing natural gas heaters, so it was a tough sell.

2014 Congressional Report Card Released

The 2014 Congressional Report Card on U.S. Foreign Policy

For Global Solutions Action Network members, how Congress deals with international concerns is of critical importance. Where do you want your elected leaders to stand on climate security and energy policy? Nuclear weapons proliferation and funding peacekeeping efforts?

The 2014 Congressional Report Card is where Members of Congress are graded on these and other global issues as votes in the immediate past session.

Creating a report card that covers climate security, treaty ratification and human rights is a long and detailed process but was well worth the effort for how it empowers citizens. After scouring the Library of Congress for roll call votes on issues of global importance and surveying our members on which reflected their concerns most, we narrowed our list to 10 votes for each chamber of Congress on which to grade lawmakers.

So what grade did your Senator and Representative receive this term?

Some members of Congress did outright awfully, while others were shining examples of the international leadership which the U.S. Congress should represent. The pictured charts display how many Senators and Representatives got which letter grades.

Chart of 2014 House GradesChart of 2014 Senate Grades

 

On Cooperation Near and Far, Big and Small: One Final Note From Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger was a vocal proponent for UN reform his entire life.

The day he died, my organization got a hand-written letter from Pete Seeger, the 94-year-old iconic folksinger who departed last month after decades of inspiring us onward with his peace and justice ballads.

Now with his loss, we realize it is quite a gap to fill. Indeed, one political cartoon showed a hapless banjo player reading his paper’s page: “JOB OPPORTUNITY: New Pete Seeger needed. Must start immediately.”

What were his final messages to us? In an article last week entitled, “I’m Through With Big Things,” Seeger was quoted as saying, "Be wary of great leaders. Hope that there are many, many small leaders.” We know of his work to clean up the Hudson River, as well as his call for all of us to get involved at the local level. If he was disappointed in greater things, it was perhaps no wonder—for decades he suffered severe disappointments on the larger scene—a country which blacklisted him, record companies and television stations that marginalized him, and a youth culture and civil rights movement that passed him over when they became enamored by cooler music and more strident activism.

Edward Rawson Memorial Arrangements

For those who would like to celebrate the life of Edward Rawson, the detailed arrangements are below. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, a contribution in his memory may be made to GlobalSolutions.org in support of the Edward Rawson Fellowship Program to allow recent college graduates an opportunity to promote active citizen engagement in global institutions and governance while developing leadership skills in government relations, communications, and grassroots outreach. Click here to learn more about Ed's life and to leave a personal comment that will be shared with the family.  

Visitation:

Friday January 10th, 2014
6-8:00pm
Joseph Gawler's Sons
5130 Wisconsin Ave, NW
Washington DC 20016

Memorial Service:

Saturday January 11th, 2014
2:00pm
St Johns Episcopal Church
6715 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101

Reception:

Following funeral service
Kazan Restaurant
6813 Redmond Drive
McLean, VA 22101

Information, death notice and obituary to be posted on Gawlers website under Edward Rawson

An obituary has also been published in the Washington Post.

Edward Rawson: 1914 - 2013

Ed is honored for the 1st "Edward Rawson Global Citizen Award"

With the passing of the old year, we lost a beloved friend, benefactor and leader, Edward Rawson. He passed away quietly at his home in McLean, Virginia surrounded by his family. He would have been 100 this February. We knew him as Ed, Mr. Rawson and Grandpa.  For so many of us he was “my friend” and “my teacher.”

Ed Rawson - Vintage PhotoEd has been part of Global Solutions movement from the beginning. He attended the 1947 founding of the United World Federalists in Asheville, North Carolina. Ed was the World Federalist Association’s (WFA) Treasurer for 20 years, retiring in 1996. He served for several years as Executive Vice President of the Campaign for UN Reform, and served until his passing as a Trustee of the World Federalist Endowment Fund, which he helped to establish. He was a past president of the WFA DC Metro Chapter, past chair of the WFA Executive Committee, and a recipient of the WFA "Presidential Award". Received a B.A. from Harvard University and a J.D. from Yale Law School, he served abroad with the State Department and Agency for International Development, and eventually as AID coordinator for relations with other federal agencies.

2014 – The Year of Protecting People

Peace on Earth

To my friends and colleagues in the GlobalSolutions.org community, I wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year!  May you celebrate and bask in the warmth of your family and friends.

As we approach the time of year for reflection and giving, I am grateful that we can continue our work together to abolish war, protect our environment, and solve problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone.

UN SG Ban Ki Moon tweet

Secretary General Ban Ki Moon’s call to make 2014 “the year of protecting people” speaks to why the work that we are committed to is so important.  We understand that protecting people is about pushing for pragmatic and systemic solutions to pressing global problems.

Here are some of the challenges that we will take on next year.  I hope you can support our efforts to:

Thankful

We give thanks on Thanksgiving, take advantage of deals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday—but on #GivingTuesday, we generously give back to the world. We cannot be thankful enough or give enough. So, here's why I am thankful:

I'm thankful to live in a time and place where food is abundant and we can enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables year-round.

Let us find a way to wisely share our bounty with the almost billion people worldwide who go to sleep hungry and the 19 million children who suffer from acute malnutrition, which kills 3.5 million a year.

I give thanks for shelter that is warm and accessible.

Veterans Day Vision

Veterans Day Peace

Today we honor veterans. My grandfather Charlie ran away and joined the army as a 16-year-old bugle boy in World War I. My uncle Buddy's bomber was shot down over Yugoslavia in World War II. Fortunately, he was smuggled across enemy lines by resistance fighters. Perhaps you also have family stories of heroism, hardship and patriotism.

However, Veterans Day is not just about honoring those who loved their country and served. It is also a day to honor those who had the courage to serve; return home from Europe, Asia, Iraq or Afghanistan; and dedicate their lives to ending war.

Brave men and women who came home after World War II built the foundation of our movement. They shared a vision of "world peace through world law." They believed that preventing World War III was essential to humankind's survival.

Today, we continue to honor the courage of these veterans. We have a new name, use new language, communicate with new technologies and face new challenges. Nevertheless, we still seek a future where nations work together to abolish war, protect our rights and freedoms, and solve problems facing humanity that no nation can solve alone.

Ninety-five years ago "the war to end all wars" ended. Today, we still have our work cut out for us:

U.N. Day - Recommit to the Vision

UN Day

It's United Nations Day! Sixty-eight years ago, the U.N.'s charter came into being "to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war... to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights... and to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom."

But this is not just a day to celebrate what the U.N. has accomplished. It is also a time to recommit to working for a U.N. that can actually accomplish its visionary goals.

What if you could help to prevent the next Rwanda, Darfur or Syria? Would you? GlobalSolutions.org is pushing for the P5 - the United States, Great Britain, France, Russia and China - to agree not use their veto in the Security Council when dealing with genocide and other mass atrocities. It has happened too often:

Annual Conference 2013 - What You Missed

Last weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Annual Conference for GlobalSolutions.org at Hofstra University in New York. The conference focused largely on skills that can be used to become more engaged in our campaigns and to help build the GlobalSolutions.org movement. The staff at the conference certainly accomplished that, teaching many invaluable skills such as building community networks, fundraising, and using social media. Overall, I left the conference with an abundance of knowledge on how to build our movement effectively, and I hope other conference participants feel the same.

Of course, the most inspiring part of the conference was not the information itself, but the energy in the room. While the mood changed several times over the course of the day, sometimes serious, sometimes less so, the overall atmosphere was inspiring. Some of the participants hadn’t seen their old friends in years, yet still spoke as if it were yesterday. And of course, many new friendships were made. Overall, the room was filled with exciting discussion and intense energy – you could tell that everyone there had a passion to change the world.

If you didn’t get to attend the conference, don’t worry! We have a page with a summary of everything covered, including the information we handed out at the conference and helpful tutorials so you can learn these skills from home. Also, you can still let us know what you think we should work on and how you’d like to be engaged by filling out our survey. Until next year, GlobalSolutions.org’ers!