Boulder-based environmental nonprofit Global Response is merging with Cultural Survival, a nonprofit organization based in Cambridge, Mass.
Cultural Survival has a 35-year history as an advocate for the rights of indigenous peoples worldwide. Global Response has partnered with Cultural Survival in the past on key campaigns where both the human rights of indigenous people and the environment were at stake. The two organizations hope that the merger will successfully combine their strengths Global Response's environmental advocacy and Cultural Survival's focus on international human rights to more effectively protect the lands, natural resources and rights of indigenous peoples.
"We were motivated to pursue this merger because it conserves our own resources, broadens the scope and tactics of our campaigns, and more than doubles our letter-writing power as we engage Cultural Survival members in our letter-writing activism," Global Response stated in a press release.
Global Response will continue to operate out of its offices in Boulder but will become a program under the auspices of Cultural Survival. Paula Palmer, the long-time executive director of Global Response, will become director of Cultural Survival's Global Response program.
The Global Response program's mission is to help indigenous communities win struggles to protect their environment and defend their rights.
"We will continue to develop our campaigns at the request of indigenous communities," the press release stated.
Two people nominated by Global Response's outgoing Board of Directors will serve on Cultural Survival's Board of Directors. They are Roy Young, founder of Global Response, and Suzanne Benally (Navajo and Santa Clara Tewa), chief diversity officer at Naropa University and a professor in Naropa's Environmental Studies department.
Ice cream to benefit youth program
Moving to End Sexual Assault (MESA) is joining forces with Ben & Jerry's to raise money for its youth program, Peers Building Justice (PBJ). Ben & Jerry's on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall will donate 20 percent of ice cream sales on Sept. 18 between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. to PBJ.
PBJ is a violence-prevention and social justice program for high school youth activists. The PBJ program is a collaboration between MESA and Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Non- Violence (SPAN). For more information on the PBJ program or to make a donation, please visit MESA's website at www.movingtoendsexualassault.org.
Indigenous rights get the spotlight
As the culminating event of its biannual Global Advisor Retreat, Global Greengrants Fund is inviting the University of Colorado community and the general public to attend a panel discussion on the topic of indigenous peoples and their efforts to defend their lands, natural resources and most basic human rights.
The panel discussion will take place on Sept. 23 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Wittemyer Courtroom of the Wolf Law Building on CU's Boulder campus.
The panel is co-sponsored by CU-Boulder's departments of anthropology and geography and the Center for Energy and Environmental Security at the CU School of Law, and will be moderated by KGNU's Nikki Kayser.
Participants on the panel include two Global Greengrants Fund regional advisors Alexander Arbachakov, of the Russian Taiga Research and Protection Agency, and Samuel Nnah Ndobe of the Center for Environment and Development, based in Yaounde, Cameroon. The panel will also feature Boulder resident John E. Echohawk, executive director of the Boulder-based Native American Rights Fund.
Boulder to be first 'smart city'
Xcel Energy's SmartGridCity project in Boulder has completed construction of the infrastructure and launched the remaining software to enable all SmartGridCity operational functions. This makes Boulder the first fully functioning smart-grid-enabled city in the world, increasing reliability, providing customers with greater energy-use information, and allowing participating customers and Xcel Energy to control inhome energy management devices remotely when needed.
"As measurable results continue to be achieved in the coming months, we look forward to continued improvements in operating efficiencies, as well as new and improved services for the citizens of Boulder," said Tim Taylor, president and CEO of the Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company. "We have learned a tremendous amount from our installation of SmartGridCity and anticipate additional benefits for us and all of our customers."
The new system will have direct customer interface opportunities. In the fourth quarter of 2009, Xcel Energy plans to launch an in-home energy management Web portal provided by GridPoint that will give all Boulder customers a smart meter that can review their in-home energy usage. The service will enable customers to choose what kind of available energy they wish to consume.
Xcel Energy will soon be seeking customers for testing of in-home energy management devices. The devices will be used to validate and enhance the customer energy management experience and response aspects of the SmartGridCity pilot project.
County treasurer speaks in London
As chairman of the Cash Flow Management Summit in London, Boulder County Treasurer Bob Hullinghorst gave a presentation on Monday, Sept. 14, about "Systemic Risk and the Lehman Bankruptcy." His remarks, on the one-year anniversary of Lehman Brothers' collapse, closed the first day of the two-day international seminar on cash management.
Last year, Boulder County had to write off $680,000 in net earnings when Lehman went bankrupt. Since then, Hullinghorst says he has been trying to determine if the current economic crisis is the result of simple fraud or of more complex risks that must be fixed if the financial system is to survive.
Until the day of the bankruptcy, Boulder County's investments in Colorado Diversified Trust (CDT) were AAA-rated because both Moody's and Standard & Poors had given Lehman's short-term commercial paper their highest ratings.
"We were trying to invest as safely as possible," Hullinghorst said.
CDT was a state-regulated money market fund managed by First National Bank in Fort Collins until it was closed last year due to the Lehman bankruptcy.
Much of the problem last year stemmed from conflicts of interest at the rating agencies, Hullinghorst said in his presentation. By selling rating services without proper due diligence, he believes S&P and Moody's were guilty of negligence, at the very least.
"Everybody, including U.S. and international regulators, relied on the rating agencies," he said. "And they made tens of millions in profits while they turned a blind eye to the fraud and corruption rampant in the sub-prime mortgage market."
Wall Street firms contributed to the systemic risks that brought down the economy last year by creating exotic derivative products, Hullinghorst said. These investments, such as credit default swaps, concentrate risks that bankrupted firms when mortgage defaults rose.
"Perhaps sending some people to jail will help," Hullinghorst said. "But we also need to develop a system to control systemic risks before they totally destroy faith in our financial markets. It may make us feel good to punish people like
Dick Fuld, former head of Lehman. But it may not correct systemic problems in our financial system in order to protect us in the future."
Hullinghorst paid his own way to London. Other presenters at the London seminar included Pedro Massalin, Global Cash Flow Director for Anheuser-Busch; Rod Staples, Treasury Solutions Manager for Price Waterhouse; and John Gleason, EMEA Treasurer for Dell.
Members needed for advisory board
The city of Lafayette is seeking several people to serve on its Latino Advisory Board. Members support the needs and voices in Lafayette's Latino community by making recommendations directly to City Council. To apply, residents must have lived in Lafayette for at least 12 months and be a registered voter. The application is available online on the city's website, www.cityoflafayette.com. The application deadline is Oct. 5. For more information, contact Susan Booker at 303-665-5200, x3802.
Ballot comments due Sept. 18
City of Longmont registered electors have until 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, to turn in written comments on a ballot issue that will appear on the Nov. 3 regular municipal election ballot. The comments will be summarized and included in an information packet that will be mailed to registered voters' homes prior to the election.
The comments must be written and labeled clearly as either pro or con statements. Electors submitting comments must include their name and address for their comments to be included. Written comments are being accepted at the Longmont City Clerk's office, 350 Kimbark St.
While there are four Longmont ballot items extension of the 3/4-cent sales and use tax for street maintenance and improvements; authorization to issue about $21.1 million of wastewater revenue bonds for capital improvements; authorization to allow the city of Longmont to provide telecommunications services, advanced services and cable television service; and retention of the municipal judge pro and con comments will be accepted only for the extension of the sales and use tax for street maintenance and improvements in accordance with State Constitution requirements for Taxpayer's Bill of Rights issues.
The full text of the ballot issue and all other Longmont municipal questions on the Nov. 3 ballot are available at the City Clerk's office, 303-651-8649, or on the city of Longmont's website at www. ci.longmont.co.us.