Your sneakers come from China, your shirt from Sri Lanka, and your produce from Peru. Globalization creates cheap goods, but with harrowing environmental costs, including pollution, habitat loss, and exposure of workers to toxics. Fortunately, concerned groups are using the Internet's global reach to educate the public and lobby for international commerce that is green, clean, and fair.
For a comprehensive course on global trade and the World Trade Organization, go to WTO Watch, www.wtowatch.org, with its breaking news, answers to common questions about the labyrinthine realm of international trade, and access to an electronic library with more than 250 downloadable documents.
Log on to Global Exchange at www.globalexchange.org/wto to join far-flung campaigns for human rights and environmental justice, such as the crusade to protect workers' health on banana plantations. Its educational "Reality Tours" to troubled regions include eye-opening journeys to Haiti, South Africa, Iran, and the U.S.-Mexico border--excursions you'll never find in Fodor's.
For a multimedia spark, you can download provocative radio and TV commercials from Adbusters at www.adbusters.org/campaigns/question/toolbox/global.html. Or you can arrange a screening of Trade Off, www.wrightanglemedia.com/tradeoff, the passionate, award-winning documentary about the global issues confronted at Seattle's infamous WTO meeting last year.
The Sierra Club's "Responsible Trade" page, www.sierraclub.org/trade, presents the Club's effort to derail fast-track trade negotiating authority, "talking points" to use in letters to legislators, and an Action Kit that exposes problems with the Free Trade Area of the Americas.
For the other perspective, visit the WTO itself, www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/envir_e/envir_e.htm, to peruse its history of environmental issues in global trade and topics under discussion at
the WTO. This account comes complete with the WTO's defense of its controversial sea turtle and dolphin rulings.
Finally, for a look at the wilder side of anti-globalization, try www.ruckus.org, and read about the Ruckus Society's Global Justice Action Camps (dubbed "basic training for tree huggers" by U.S. News and World Report), which teach skills ranging from scaling buildings to hanging from billboards. Not ready for such high-altitude action? Check out the group's Tech Toolbox Action Camp to see how to use the Internet for social change.