14 garment-worker unions in Cambodia are campaigning for better pay and working conditions, and the International Labor Rights Forum helps you tell major corporate retailers like WalMart, H&M, Gap, and Levi Strauss to pressure the Cambodian government to raise wages for Cambodian workers. Cambodian garment workers work up to 14 hours daily, with inadequate breaks, making the clothes you get relatively cheaply at major retailers, and these workers make $128 monthly. And if you're a Cambodian worker peacefully protesting these working conditions, you run the risk of getting shot to death by Cambodian police, as five protestors did a few years ago. The unions have demanded a $177/month minimum wage -- that doesn't seem like a lot of money to us, obviously, but a dollar goes a little farther in Cambodia than it does here, though perhaps not far enough for good Cambodians to shop at a WalMart, for example. Still, progress is progress, even when it's slow. And to those who whine that more money for Cambodian workers means they'll pay more at WalMart: is it ever moral to pay people in dung pellets?
Meanwhile, the Department of Education is mulling rules requiring open licensing for all Department-funded education content. This is, actually, a big deal -- no other federal agency makes its grant-funded materials so freely available to the taxpayers who have funded it, and students and educators could access federally-funded material without jumping through more hoops (as I've said, they've already paid for these materials with their taxes). Best of all, open licensing would permit a level of oversight by the American people over education materials that we haven't enjoyed until now. People who "worry" that open licensing will give an "unfair advantage" to public education over private education should consider, again, that public education belongs to all the people, so all the people should be able to oversee it. Who has a problem with oversight, again? People with something to hide, that's who. The Electronic Frontier Foundation helps you tell the Department of Education to permit open licensing of Department-funded education materials.
Finally, the Sierra Club helps you tell Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf to direct the state Department of Environmental Protection (or DEP) to crack down on methane emissions from oil and gas drillers. Pennsylvania is second among American states in producing natural gas from shale, and that also means, sadly, that Pennsylvania is near the forefront of American states not just in air and water polluted from fracking, but also from methane emissions. If you've heard that natural gas is better to our climate than coal or oil, don't believe it -- methane packs a climate change punch some 80 times larger than coal production does, and the more gas drilling we do, the worse climate change will be. Yes, there is an entire industry (the methane mitigation industry) devoted to remediating the problem, but you still have to get the gas drillers to care about the problem, and my experience with big corporations over the last few decades is that the people who run them don't care about problems they have to spend money to fix. This is one reason we need governments of the people, for the people, and by the people -- to restrain the behavior of big corporations.