News Release

Earth Day: “Sleepwalking into an Apocalypse”?

Friday, April 22, is the 35th Earth Day. The following environmentalists are available for interviews:

BERN JOHNSON
MECHE LU
Johnson is executive director of the U.S. office of the Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, which works with attorneys in 60 countries to protect the environment through law. He said today: “The damage that we are doing to our global climate is the greatest environmental challenge ever. Governments are not stepping up to meet this challenge, so we are helping grassroots lawyers around the world find ways to take on climate change.”

Lu is an environmental research scientist with the group and recently returned from Chile and Peru, where she assisted local advocates working to protect wild rivers in the Patagonia region of Chile and protect public health near a U.S.-owned smelter in the Peruvian Andes. She said today: “People all over the world want a voice in protecting their environment. To have a strong voice, communities need legal and scientific information. Decisions about the environment are too often made by governments that put the interests of corporations ahead of communities.”
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ROSS GELBSPAN
Gelbspan is the author of the book Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists Have Fueled a Climate Crisis — And What We Can Do to Avert Disaster. He also contributed to a special section in the current issue of Mother Jones magazine: “As the World Burns: Think tanks and journalists funded by ExxonMobil are out to convince you global warming is a hoax.” Gelbspan said today: “As the signals from the planet become progressively more urgent, the Bush administration turns its back on the challenge and the U.S. press remains in denial. We are, as the British paper The Independent put it recently, ‘sleepwalking into an Apocalypse.'”

He added: “Carbon levels are rising at more than 2 parts per million per year — which means they will top 400 near the end of this decade. At that point, scientists project that the warming will set off irreversible, runaway changes. As the head of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said recently, humanity must make ‘very deep’ cuts in its carbon fuel use ‘if humanity is to survive.’ It is clearly time to put the global environment in general, and climate change in particular, at the top of America’s political agenda.”
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JOHN STAUBER
Co-author of the book Toxic Sludge Is Good For You: Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry, Stauber organized a teach-in during the first Earth Day while in high school. He said today: “A popular and powerful environmental movement was born on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970. Today the public’s desire for a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is bipartisan and stronger than ever, but the green movement has become a weak political loser. Despite the fact that every year hundreds of millions of dollars are raised and spent by the dozen largest national environmental groups, these groups are in retreat.”

Stauber continued: “What began as a powerful popular movement has turned into competing non-profit companies that merely use their grassroots members for fundraising, failing to organize and empower them into the potent political force they must become to win real change. Thirty-five years after the first Earth Day, a revolution is needed in the ranks of the greens. Until the environmental movement rebuilds itself from the grassroots up and demands accountability from its own organizations, it will continue its losing ways.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167