Even though people power is asserting itself around the world and authoritarian regimes are falling, one is standing firmer than ever: Russia. Vladimir Putin has returned to the presidency for the third time and is lowering the iron fist.
Tonight, I spoke with Petr Verzilov, who’s an artist, activist and the husband of one of the jailed band members of a Russian feminist punk rock band called Pussy Riot. In February, the group did a protest, storming the altar at Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Savior and called upon the Virgin Mary to "put Putin away." Of course, many found this performance offensive; but is it criminal? The women are charged with "hooliganism, motivated by religious hatred or hostility.” In Russia, that’s a felony, with a maximum seven year jail sentence. The group has pleaded not guilty to the charges against them, but they've already been in prison for five months. Two of them have small children, whom they haven't seen since their arrest.
Once you settle the science debate on climate change, then comes the hard part: finding the political will to actually do something about it. Van Jones was in a position to do something as Green Jobs Advisor to President Obama – the White House's point man on the environment. But he resigned in the face of a right wing smear campaign. Now he is trying to mobilize change as a grass roots activist.
Scientists Lonnie Thompson and wife Ellen have made it their personal quests to unlock the frozen history of our climate. He is one of a small group of scientists whose research actually led to the discovery of global climate change. And she leads a major polar research team at the Ohio State University, where they both work.
CNN’s Meredith Milstein produced this piece for television.