Tag Archives: US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme

Letter from America: no man is an island

Small Island in HawaiiAlastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He participated in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change. This is the final report of his trip.

My visit to the United States ended where the current president began; Barack Obama grew up just a few miles north of Waikiki Beach, his parents meeting at the University of Hawaii. I find his effortless cool more understandable now I’ve experienced the sea turtles, basketball courts and island-time attitude of his old neighbourhood. Read more

Letter from America: how cowboys cope with climate change

Alastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He’s currently participating in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change. This is his third report on his experiences.

As we make our journey over the shale wells and wind farms of the Great Plains to Colorado, we are joined by the pope. On the airport TV screens, on the front covers of the newspapers and in the conversations overheard in the terminal shuttle, his encyclical on climate change dominates our journey. As we are now in the early stages of the presidential nominations, His Holiness has also featured as a political debate starter on talk shows. Read more

Letter from America: the US’s secret green test site

welcome to verrmontAlastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He’s currently participating in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change. This is his second dispatch reporting on his experiences.

There is no typical America or American, but Vermont makes a particular effort to be untypical. Our tour group’s van driver is a polite, thoughtful man named Reg Godin. He normally waits in the van, but when we visit Montpelier for a meeting in the grand State House, he decides to join us. The place is shut down except for a few offices, but Reg shakes hands with the security guard, then ushers us through to the State’s Senate floor, where he allows us to take pictures of ourselves brandishing the gavel. Before the last election, Reg explains, he was a Democratic state representative, serving as one of the 150 in this state. That was his job for a while, he says; now he has another one. His modest attitude is in profound contrast to the power-chasing world of DC. Read more

Letter from America: Washington and the art of compromise

The capitol building in WashingtonAlastair Harper is head of politics at Green Alliance. He’s participating in the US State Department’s International Visitors Leadership Programme on climate change and will be sending dispatches over the next couple of weeks based on his experiences.

Washington is a city that changes startlingly from block to block. Take the Capitol Building, which looms over its surroundings like the younger, stockier brother of St Paul’s Cathedral, reflected in the water landscaped in front with the Washington monument in the distance. Dotted around it are countless police, tourists and lobbyists. You are vividly aware of where you are. Read more