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Making a Difference

More Making a Difference Activities

Stop Oil Drilling in the Rainforest

Kavitha today writes about how oil companies are increasingly looking to protected regions of the rainforest to do their drilling. Please write a letter to President Arzú of Guatemala and ask that he commit himself to protecting these regions.

The minutes you take to write a letter and send it can make a big difference for many people in Guatemala, and around the world!

You should send your e-mail to Gustavo Blanco, the Chief Aide to Vice President Luis Flores Asturias, however, you should address it to the President.

The following is a sample letter.
Mr. Alvaro Arzú

Dear Sir:

With great concern I have been informed that the largest and most important tropical rainforest in the Northern Hemisphere of the American Continent is in grave danger due to oil drilling activities. News has come my way that almost all of the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, located in the northern part of Guatemala, is being subject to intense oil exploitation. This is a direct result of the many concessions given by your administration in regard to this Reserve.

I believe that, due to the biological importance of the region and the immense value of archeological sites located in the area, this region should be preserved as an authentic Reserve area for the planet's survival. As a matter of fact, UNESCO declared this region as a World Heritage Site. It is therefore my right, as a citizen of the world, to see that it remains protected.

The Mayan Biosphere Reserve is one of the most important oxygen lungs of the world. That is why I demand that this region be protected and that the oil companies be denied these concessions.

I am aware that non-governmental organizations, as well as the people living in the communities of Laguna del Tigre, Uaxactún and Carmelita where the concessions have been given, oppose these actions. As a citizen of the world I feel obliged to voice my opposition to these concessions because I know they represent destruction to an important area of rich bio-diversity. These actions are heartbreaking and I trust that you will give careful consideration to this petition, and guarantee the protection of these six million acres of pristine rainforest for future generations to come.

I, __________________________send this e-mail hoping my petition will make a difference in the world.

Support the Closing of the School of the Americas
(AKA the School of Assassins)

There are two organizations taking actions to support the closing of the School of the Americas. (See the Team dispatch, "The Miseducation of Latin America" for more on the School!)

The first one is SURGE, Students United for a Responsible Global Environment, an organization of youth at 70 high schools and universities around the US. They are organizing a rally of students to go to the US capital on April 12 to speak with their congressional representatives.

Click Here to meet Students United for a Resposible Global Environment

"The actual day will begin by travelling to good old DC to meet at 11 AM at the East Front grassy area at the Capitol with the SOA Watch to go over key points to emphasize while lobbying. Its gonna be awesome! Then we'll eat lunch there before going to the House and Senate in our lobbying groups. "We will return to eat some FREE Food Not Bombs delicacies around 6 PM and spend an hour eating the great food and meeting with the wonderful students representing colleges and high schools from all over the nation."

You should contact them if you want to join them and find out how to set up a meeting with your congressperson. Or you can contact them to find out about organizing a chapter of SURGE at your school!
Then there is the School of the Americas Watch. They are the leaders in lobbying Congress to close the School of the Americas.

Click Here to visit the School of the Americas Watch website

"Rep. Moakley of Massachusetts has introduced new legislation in the House calling for the closing of the School of the Americas. Sen. Durbin of Illinois is likely to introduce similar Senate legislation later in the year.

"It is critical that you call your Members of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor these bills. Even if they have supported closing the School in the past, remind them to co-sponsor the new legislation. It is also important to contact newly-elected members of Congress."

"In 1998, the vote was 212-201. Every vote counts."

Note: In the House the bill is called HR 732, and in the Senate wil likely be introduced by Sen. Durbin of Illinois and therefore doesn't have a number yet!

Click here to see how if your Representative is co-sponsoring the bill.

Click here to get contact info on your Congressperson.

Write today in solidarity with the people of Latin America!


Abeja - Why Do People Know What They Know
Team - The Miseducation of Latin America
Shawn - Environmental Devastation: Who's to Blame and How Can We Stop It?
Kavitha - What's This Oil Doing in My Lake?!?
Kevin - Watch out World!
Kevin - Watch out World! (Kid's Version)
Shawn - A History of Terror in Santiago Atitlan
Monica - Greetings
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