New Orleans It was wonderful to see a rare smile on the face of Evgenia Chirikova, our friend and ally, who has been the sparkplug of the feisty, though failing, effort to reroute the construction of a highway that would cut through the supposedly protected Khimki Forest. She has been named one of the grassroots environmental activists awarded a Goldman Environmental Prize. Not only does it open this small group to potential support from donors, but the prize itself comes with a $150,000 check to Evgenia, which could be a huge boost to their hand-to-mouth operation and help them with legal and medical costs incurred in the constant police actions they have endured in trying to stand in the way of the construction.
Just to refresh everyone’s memory, ACORN International has stood strong with our sister and the efforts to Save the Khimki Forest. We have protested with them in front of the construction company offices in Toronto, Buenos Aires, Lima, and Tegucigalpa. We have created a Facebook page for them in English. We have told their story on our website and in Global Grassroots: International Perspectives on Organizing after we first met Evgenia and listened to her when she was just beginning this fight as a young mother stumbling on the problem while walking her children near her apartment. We have been proud to support this hard fight and are pleased to see them win attention and more resources in their difficult battle. Join them!
In other news, I was fascinated to learn yesterday on the Firedoglake.com Book Salon in the discussion of Global Grassroots about the work of the Coalition for Low Income Housing (CLIH), based in San Luis Obispo, California. Having now checked out their website, I was impressed by their willingness to fly the flag and engage the battle for affordable housing in central California. Here’s a shout out and the hope that we can lend them a hand. They seem like our kind of people!
Keeping an eye on the “race to the bottom” or the race to somewhere, the debate seems to be joined in Japan now. Interesting quote in the Times:
“It is time for Japan to find a new model for its economy,” said Masatomo Onishi, a professor of business at Kansai University. “We can follow the United States into a more postindustrial economy, or we can follow Germany into high-end manufacturing, but we shouldn’t be trying to compete with China in mass production.”
We’re not so sure how this post-industrial, service economy thing is working out over here, so be careful before jumping on this path!