In a recent poll by the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of Americans said too much power is concentrated in the hands of a few rich people and large corporations. In a poll by Time Magazine, 86 percent of Americans said Wall Street and its lobbyists have too much influence in Washington.
And 80 percent of Americans oppose Citizens United, the pro-corporate Supreme Court ruling that turns two years old today. Eighty percent — that’s among Republicans, Democrats, and Independents.
Some say corporations have such a strong grip on politicians and big media that it is impossible to challenge them, no matter how many of us there are.
But I believe we can do it. In the past few months, YES! Magazine has been researching ways that ordinary people can challenge corporate power (look for strategies in our spring issue, out in February). And we found that there are actually a lot of tools at our disposal..
I’d like to introduce a paper published last year in the journal Aquatic Mammals, which reports on two separate playful and – as you’ll see – uplifting encounters between bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae).
The first took place on a January afternoon off the northwest coast of Kauai, when a group of eight bottlenose dolphins met up with a pair of humpback whales. Two of the dolphins — apparently adults — approached one of the whales, first appearing to surf the pressure wave created by the whale’s head as it swam, and later taking turns lying perpendicularly across the whale’s rostrum when it surfaced to breathe. Then, while one of the dolphins lay balanced over the end of its rostrum, the whale stopped and slowly lifted the dolphin high into the air. The dolphin maintained an arched position and made no effort to escape, allowing the whale to continue lifting until it was nearly vertical in the water, at which point the dolphin slid down the whale’s rostrum, dove into the water, and porpoised back to its fellow dolphins.
Astrophysicist Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson was asked “What is the most astounding fact you can share with us about the Universe?” This is his answer.
How the Pipeline Died — And How to Bury It For Good. Grassroots strategies paid off for the climate movement in a big way.
This Wednesday afternoon, the Obama administration rejected the permit for Keystone XL, a 1,700 mile oil pipeline that would have run from the tar sands of Alberta to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. The announcement is a huge victory for the grassroots climate movement. As writer and Keystone XL protest leader Bill McKibben wrote this afternoon,
“This isn’t just the right call, it’s the brave call. The knock on Barack Obama from many quarters has been that he’s too conciliatory. But here, in the face of a naked political threat from Big Oil to exact ‘huge political consequences,’ he’s stood up strong. This is a victory for Americans who testified in record numbers, and who demanded that science get the hearing usually reserved for big money.”
The 41-percent efficiency rating is one of the highest recorded at this (light) concentration, and is challenged only by Stanford University spinoff Solar Junction’s multijunction GaAs cells, confirmed at 43.5 percent efficiency. The company is hoping for a DOE loan guarantee to expand production.