LNW_CCCwoodcut.miniTo all our readers and their families—and beyond—we send best wishes for a happy, safe, and more prosperous new year. For everyone we wish full (or at least livelihood-sustaining) employment.

2009 will not be easy, we know, but embedded within the new year’s challenges are opportunities for renewal and a whole new sense of national purpose and possibility. Seeds of change. It is a time for hope, optimism, for dreaming big new dreams and for working hard to make them real. With a new (and very different) administration and many new elected officials coming to Washington and to state and local governments across the nation, it’s a time for collaboration and cooperation for the common good.

We’re all in this together. Being in the work of environmental protection, for example, we realize that all nations have a stake in reducing carbon emissions that cause global warming and melting of ice caps. Rising sea levels threaten not only the Gulf Coast of the United States but also Long Island, the Netherlands, Venice, Bangladesh—every bit of land touched by the oceans. We understand that the more energy-efficient vehicles that the public rightly expects from Detroit should be balanced by federal and state investment in clean-energy public transportation (electric buses, streetcars) and light rail to ease traffic congestion and air pollution.

LNW_RosieRiveter.miniWe pledge to keep on pressing elected officials—and our fellow activists and other concerned citizens—to wind down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’ll work with other bloggers and activists to spread the word and intensify the pressure on elected officials, businesspeople, and other influential powers to help the stricken Gulf Coast rebuild.

We resolve to keep pushing Washington and Baton Rouge and City Hall in New Orleans to renew, restore, and reopen Charity Hospital and public housing and education in New Orleans. Build Category 5–strength storm protection systems. Restore coastal Louisiana with freshwater diversions, vegetation plantings, marsh creation, shoreline protection, sediment trapping, and stabilization of the barrier islands. All of these projects are in progress but need substantial increases in funding and citizen involvement. (You can bet on it: Without citizen involvement—our involvement and yours—there will be no increases in funding.)

And so, on that happy note, let’s toast to a better new year in 2009. And pray for good weather.