Climate Movement Monday: Uinta Basin Railway

Welcome back, it’s another Monday and I’m barely getting in under the wire with this post. 🙂 Each week, I highlight a climate-related issue and the frontline community most affected, and today’s post hits close to home (on a day when air quality is Unhealthy due to wildfire smoke coming down from Canada). Oddly enough, I knew nothing about the proposed Uinta Basin Railway until I attended an anti-fracking rally in January and received this gorgeous flyer.

Per StopUintaBasinRailway.com  and its fact sheet: The Uinta Basin Railway would quadruple crude oil production in Utah’s Uinta Basin. The 88-mile railway would go from Myton, UT, to Kuyane, UT, and is predicted to ramp up crude oil production by as much as 400% in the Uinta Basin by providing access to the national rail network and coastal refineries. (See letter from Gulf Coast advocates).

Up to 1,600 loaded oil trains per year leaving the Uinta Basin would travel for 200 miles in Colorado along the Colorado River, source of drinking water for 40 million people and the heart of Colorado’s recreation economy. The heavy, long oil tanker trains used to transport crude oil pose greater risks of derailment and spills than other freight trains, and an increased risk of fire due to derailment and spilling of combustible oil. Further, climate change induced drought, due primarily to burning of fossil fuels, is resulting in more severe wildfires across the West.

It is bonkers to me that this is even being considered a viable plan. Even worse, the railway backers want tax payers to subsidize this train wreck for our climate!  And good old Biden, the “climate president” is fully on board with this oil train nightmare. This article from The Lever is a must-read that lays it all out.

TAKE ACTION:

1. Sign the letter to Secretary Vilsack demanding that he revoke the permits for the Uinta Basin Railway AND send an email saying exactly why this matters to you. Email: agsec@usda.gov 

2. Write to Sec. of Transportation (Pete Buttigieg) to urge the Department of Transportation to reject the use of tax-exempt “private activity bonds” for the Uinta
Basin Railway. Email: DOTExecSec@dot.gov 

3. Contact your local, state, and federal elected officials. Many city councils and county commissions do not know about this project. Make sure they’re aware so they can state their opposition. NO MATTER WHERE YOU LIVE, THIS RAILWAY WOULD IMPACT YOUR LIFE BECAUSE OF ITS CLIMATE IMPLICATIONS. (Remember, I’m currently breathing wildfire smoke from Canada).

A couple weeks ago, we drove through Glenwood Canyon which is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and saw an oil train winding its way through the twists and turns. It boggles the mind that in the wake of East Palestine they’re pushing for we the people to subsidize their crude oil trains.  LET’S TELL THEM NO TO THE UINTA BASIN RAILWAY! I appreciate you reading this far and thank you in advance for taking a couple minutes to voice opposition to this plan.

Solidarity! ✊🏽 (P.S. we’re heading out on a camping trip tomorrow in hopes of cleaner air so I won’t be able to respond to comments until the end of the week, but please let me know what you’re thinking about all this!)

Climate Movement Monday: celebrating NY’s Green New Deal

Welcome back to Movement Mondays! The morning after putting up last week’s post, I went camping. But not where intended. We had reservations at Penitente Canyon and Great Sand Dunes National Park, but there were Red Flag Warnings for the area and we didn’t want to risk 50 mph wind gusts and heightened wildfire risk. So we cancelled those reservations and pivoted to Vega State Park where we had a lovely time. Yes, there was some wind and it rained all day Thursday, but we escaped the truly severe weather experienced around the rest of Colorado: tornadoes, 4-inch hailstones, flooding, heavy snows in the Rockies, damaging winds, etc. Unfortunately, Colorado was just one part of the country experiencing extreme weather events (I hope you all remained safe).

This is a climate crisis.

As I searched for today’s blog topic, I became overwhelmed by what’s happening as a result of our addiction to fossil fuels, especially after reading this mother-daughter op-ed “Cancer Alley: Pollution is Making Louisianans Sick” which describes how the ten-year-old girl’s skin is peeling due to pollution along the Gulf Coast. But rather than curling up in the fetal position, I’m taking Zippy’s advice to write about some good news on the climate front: New York passed a publicly funded renewable energy program!

Per independent journalists at The Lever: Last week, New York State took a major step toward realizing publicly-owned 100 percent renewable energy, passing the Build Public Renewables Act in the annual budget. The first-of-its-kind initiative requires the New York Power Authority — the largest state-owned power organization in the country — to provide solely renewable energy by 2030 and transitions all state-owned and municipal properties to renewables by 2035.

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann, AMNY

This victory provides not only a much-needed morale boost, but also provides a road map for winning similar victories around the country. This article from The Nation explains how New York’s Green New Deal was won. Organizing started around a proposed rate hike from private utility company ConEd. The Public Power campaign did research, learning that while ConEd was making $1 billion profit per year, the private utility had threatened to shut off power for 2 million low-income people. ConEd also failed to upgrade the grid which resulted in power outages and blackouts. The Public Power campaign organized around the state, holding town halls in affected areas. The movement grew! And four years later? Victory!

And other good news? As I write this, hundreds of Atlanta citizens have shown up to testify in front of the City Council in opposition to Cop City. As I wrote before, it’s vital we #StopCopCity especially in the face of the escalating climate crisis. It’s a very, very good sign that hundreds have shown up on a Monday to say NO to Cop City.

So while I didn’t include an action this week, I’d still love to hear from you whether it’s to share an action you want me to amplify or to describe extreme/nonextreme weather in your area or to shout-out an environmental victory or to express your feelings after reading the linked articles. Or maybe you have a great camping spot to recommend.  🙂  Whatever it is, I’m here for all of it! Until next Monday, solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: in support of the Climate Justice Alliance

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I typically highlight an issue and then offer a quick action or two you can take in solidarity with those most directly impacted. These frontline communities (those enduring the worst effects of the climate crisis) are usually poor people of color because the powerful elite are comfortable riding roughshod over them. They believe poor people don’t have the resources or energy to fight back.  Fortunately, there’s the Climate Justice Alliance which was created to do just that.

From their website: Climate Justice Alliance (CJA) formed in 2013 to create a new center of gravity in the climate movement by uniting frontline communities and organizations into a formidable force. Our translocal organizing strategy and mobilizing capacity is building a Just Transition away from extractive systems of production, consumption and political oppression, and towards resilient, regenerative and equitable economies. We believe that the process of transition must place race, gender and class at the center of the solutions equation in order to make it a truly Just Transition.

If you’ve read any of my previous Movement Monday posts, you know I’m all about people power and solidarity. CJA does amazing work and I encourage you to explore their website. For instance, you can learn about ENERGY DEMOCRACY (a shift from the corporate, centralized fossil fuel economy to one that is governed by communities, is designed on the principle of no harm to the environment, supports local economies, and contributes to the health and well-being for all peoples) and FOOD SOVEREIGNTY which includes CJA’s efforts through community gardens and worker-owned cooperatives. Scroll down to see a clickable list of Participating CJA Members, some of which may be in your own community!

CJA welcomes tax-deductible donations but asks that we first check out their CJA Alliance Members page to see if there are organizations working in our communities so that we may donate locally. I was disappointed to learn there are no member organizations in Colorado, but was glad to donate to Taproot Earth in Slidell, Louisiana (“Our legacy is rooted in the disaster recovery work in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina when the climate crisis was revealed in full force”) because Hurricane Katrina laid bare the array of injustices inflicted on the people in that community and forever changed the landscape of the region, and they deserve all the support they can get.

I hope you also find a member organization to support OR make a donation directly to Climate Justice Alliance. Our best hope in the face of this climate emergency is all of us coming together to unite for a livable planet. And if you feel like sharing an organization you support or something that you learned via CJA’s impressive site or if you donated to one of the member organizations, I hope you’ll share in the comments.  Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: in support of Kalamazoo, MI

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I highlight an issue and the frontline community most impacted, along with suggestions for a quick action or two on their behalf. Today’s focus is on a predominantly Black community in Kalamazoo, Michigan, that I learned about via a Twitter thread from independent journalists at Status Coup News (@StatusCoup). I highly recommend reading that thread plus an earlier one I discovered while researching this post, but here are the basics:

Graphic Packaging is an international paper mill which makes packaging for food and beverages, etc., and it’s been operating in Kalamazoo for over a decade, spewing 30+ toxic chemicals day and night.

Image from journalist Jordan Chariton 2.9.23 Twitter thread

Children do not go outside at recess or play outside in their neighborhood because the smell is so bad. People do not open their windows. The smell worsens at night and those in the neighborhood suffer many health issues, including asthma, COPD, stomachaches, and headaches. Residents in the area suffer chronic lower respiratory diseases and since 2015, 1,950 Black babies (under the age of 1) have died in Kalamazoo. Despite ongoing complaints from the community to Governor Whitmer’s Health and Environmental Department, in 2021 the Whitmer administration approved a $125 million bond deal to help Graphic Packaging expand the Kalamazoo paper mill! Now the toxic air is impacting a predominantly white neighborhood.

Guess what? As of February, the state of Michigan has mandated that Graphic Packaging release data from their air sensors measuring toxic gases at the site. In addition, the multi-billion dollar corporation was hit with a whopping  $109,270 fine.

This is where solidarity comes in: even though the majority of people reading this do not live in Kalamazoo, those communities can use our help. 

TAKING ACTION

If you like phone calls:
leave a message for Gov. Whitmer at 517-335-7858
(tip: press 5, then 2)
Gov. Whitmer requires email via this form

If you prefer email, here are the addresses for the Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and City Commissioners (copy and paste from below):

TO: mayor@kalamazoocity.org
CC: cooneyd@kalamazoocity.org, hessj@kalamazoocity.org, praedelc@kalamazoocity.org, deckerq@kalamazoocity.org, hoffmans@kalamazoocity.org, juareze@kalamazoocity.org

Here’s what I sent (feel free to modify): Letter re Graphic Packaging

Thank you for reading this far. It’s completely coincidental that last week’s post also focused on Michigan, but I hope you’ll also speak out on behalf of the Kalamazoo communities. And if you want to support Status Coup News, you can do so here.  Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: Not Too Late

Welcome back to another edition of Movement Mondays in which I typically highlight a frontline community that’s bearing the brunt of the climate crisis and then offer an action you can take on behalf of that community. Today, I’m taking a different approach and offering a choose-your-own-adventure. Here is Earthjustice’s Action Alert page listing a number of topics for which you can write a quick letter, such as getting chemicals out of water OR saving the endangered Gulf of Mexico whale from extinction OR supporting Green Energy for Puerto Rico. Remember: brief and to-the-point letters are absolutely fine.

I also want to share an excerpt from a book that arrived in the mail today.

From Rebecca Solnit’s opening essay:
To hope is to accept despair as an emotion but not as an analysis. To recognize that what is unlikely is possible, just as what is likely is not inevitable. To understand that difficult is not the same as impossible. To plan and to accept that the unexpected often disrupt plans–for the better and for the worse. To know the powerful have their weaknesses, and we who are supposed to be weak have great power together, power to change the world, have done so before and will again. To know that the future will be what we make of it in the present. To know that joy can appear in the midst of crisis, and that a crisis is a crossroads. 

NOT TOO LATE: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility (edited by Rebecca Solnit & Thelma Young Lutunatabua) is available for purchase through Haymarket Books at 30% off.

I always love to hear when you’ve taken action, read something inspiring, or just want to high-five across the miles, so please share in the comments.

Here’s to a world in which there’s truly justice for all. Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: U.S. Postal Service edition

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I highlight a frontline community that’s suffering the worst effects of the climate crisis and then suggest a quick action you can take on behalf of people and planet. Today my focus is the U.S. Postal Service.

I’ll start by saying I’m a huge fan of the USPS. I think it’s a wonderful government agency that provides a vital service and I’ve enjoyed engaging with our mail carriers over the years. When Larry retired, people in the neighborhood put up signs to thank him and wish him well. Our current carrier is John, a pickleball fanatic who pretends to race me in his truck when he sees me running. John’s postal truck was built in the 1980s which means it guzzles gas and has heavy emissions. John walks as much as he can while delivering but when he drives, it’s with the door open. Imagine breathing in exhaust fumes all day.

The good news: the USPS recently announced the purchase of nearly 10,000 electric vehicles. The bad news: the USPS is also planning to purchase the same number of gas-guzzling, polluting vehicles. Per EarthjusticeBuried in the Postal Service’s press release trumpeting the electric trucks was a paragraph detailing its plans to put nearly 10,000 new polluting trucks into our communities before it even finishes the environmental review its legally required to do. The Postal service could buy close to 18,000 more of these polluting trucks in the coming years.

Why? Well, one big problem is the Postmaster General: Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee put in place to destroy/privatize the Postal Service (because, among other things, mail-in-ballots). Biden has retained DeJoy despite calls to fire him and appoint someone who actually believes in the USPS mission.

So, today I’m asking you to take 2 quick actions:

  1. Let the Postal Service know you want it to finish its environmental review before it puts any more polluting trucks onto our streets.
  2. Let the USPS Board of Governors know they must make it a priority to fire Louis DeJoy before he destroys the Postal Service.

Thank you in advance for taking action on behalf of this vital institution, the workers, the climate, and our air quality. And remember, if you get a friend to do the same, you will have doubled your impact.

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: updates + quick action on old growth forests

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I highlight frontline communities experiencing the worst of the climate crisis and then offer a quick way to take action on behalf people and planet. Confession: today feels especially difficult because:

  1. It’s the 20 year anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq despite the millions of us around the world who took to the streets to shout NO! (surprise: war causes ongoing harm.)
  2. The final report from the U.N.’s  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  was released today and, among other things, says “The suffering is worst in the world’s poorest countries and low-lying island nations, which are home to roughly 1 billion people yet account for less than 1 percent of humanity’s total planet-warming pollution. But as climate disruption increases with rising temperatures, not even the wealthiest and most well-protected places will be immune.” But the report’s not all doom. Despite its stark language and dire warnings, the IPCC report sends a message of possibility, said Friederike Otto, a climate scientist at Imperial College London and a member of the core writing team for the report. “It’s not that we are depending on something that still needs to be invented,” she said. “We actually have all the knowledge we need. All the tools we need. We just need to implement it.”

All the more reason for us to keep on fighting for policies that ensure a just transition to clean, renewable energies for ALL. We CAN do this if we join together. So, please, read on.  🙂

UPDATE on legal challenges to the Willow Project:

Here’s the press release about Earthjustice filing a lawsuit against the Biden administration on March 15, just two days after Biden authorized the Willow Project. (Trustees of Alaska filed a separate challenge on behalf of Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic ((SILA)) and conservation groups.) From the press release:  

This is the second time the Bureau of Land Management has approved the Willow project. The Trump administration first approved the project in 2020. Conservation and Alaska Native groups challenged the approval, and the court threw it out as unlawful in 2021. It instructed BLM to reassess the project’s full climate impacts and consider alternatives that would lessen its overall impacts. In approving Willow for the second time, the Biden administration has failed to heed these instructions, producing an environmental analysis that falls short in these same respects.

TAKE QUICK ACTION FOR TREES!

I received an email from Earthjustice this morning asking for action on old growth forests. On Earth Day 2022, Biden took an important step toward protecting mature and old-growth forests on federal lands. Now, we need to push Biden to create a strong, lasting, national rule to protect those forests from logging. You can do that here. (If you’re pressed for time, here’s my letter you can copy and paste:

Thank you for your executive order directing the conservation of mature and old-growth forests. The next step is to create a strong, lasting national rule that protects mature and old-growth trees and forests across federal public lands from logging. Protecting and recovering these natural climate solutions would be a key piece of U.S. climate policy, a sign of international leadership, and an enduring legacy of your administration.

Safeguarding and expanding carbon-rich forests on Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands is an important, cost-effective, and timely approach to fighting the climate crisis. Mature trees store and continue to absorb large amounts of carbon in addition to providing the public with clean drinking water, habitat for imperiled wildlife, and world-class recreational opportunities.

Please, be a leader and act to protect these forests.

(Note to anyone not wanting to receive emails as a result of the petition: remember, you can always opt out!)

Thank you for reading and taking action.  Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: STOP the Willow Project

Hello, I’m back with another Movement Monday post and hope you’ll join me in taking action on behalf of people and planet. These posts focus on the frontline communities that bear the worst effects of the climate crisis, but WE ALL HAVE A STAKE in what happens to the planet so it’s imperative we all use our voices to speak out.

Anti-Willow protestors gathered in Lafayette Square, in front of the White House, on Jan. 10, 2023. (Liz Ruskin/Alaska Public Media)

I’ve written about the Willow Project in Alaska’s western arctic (here, here, and here), and now the Biden administration is getting close to releasing its final decision. WE NEED TO TELL HIM NO  because as People vs. Fossil Fuels points out: “Willow would emit 278 million metric tons of climate pollution over the next 30 years. That’s equivalent to the annual emissions from 74 coal plants — one-third of all remaining U.S. plants.” 

There are 3 ways you can take action:

  • Call the Department of Interior at (866) 834 8040 and tell them: 

“Hi, my name is (X) and I’m calling from (your state). I want you to reject the Willow Project that would worsen the climate emergency. STOP WILLOW.” 

  • Call the White House comment line (Tues-Thurs, 11am-3pm EST) at  (202) 456 1111 and say: 

“Hi, my name is (X) and I’m calling from (your state). I want you to reject the Willow Project that goes directly against your national climate goals. STOP WILLOW.”

P.S. Wondering about this tactic? Because faxes are less frequently used these days, this is way to make sure our messages stand apart and make a bigger splash in White House offices.

(NOTE: all this info is thanks to an action toolkit provided by People vs. Fossil Fuels )

I’d love it if you could let me know in the comments that you took action, so please shout out your awesomeness! In the meanwhile, Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: in support of the young

Welcome back! These Movement Monday posts are intended to educate and inspire readers to take action on behalf of the frontline communities most impacted by the climate crisis. Today I want to focus on the young who, through no fault of their own, are inheriting a legacy of climate crises brought on by past and current generations’ addiction to oil and gas.

And because I’m pressed for time today, I’m going to copy the message from People vs. Fossil Fuels:

Sign the Petition: Tell Attorney General Garland to End Opposition to Youth Climate Justice

It is time for Attorney General Garland to end Department of Justice opposition to the children’s climate case, Juliana v. United States.

In 2015, 21 young Americans filed a landmark constitutional climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, against the U.S. government. Their complaint asserts that the government’s affirmative actions, like fossil fuel energy policies, knowingly cause and worsen the climate crisis. The youth claim that this violates the youngest generation’s constitutional rights to life, liberty, property, and equal protection of the law, as well as fails to protect essential public trust resources.

These 21 young people are seeking a judicial declaration that the U.S. fossil fuel energy system is unconstitutional and violates their fundamental right to a safe climate. A victory in their case would mean that all current and future U.S. climate and energy policy – whether executive or legislative in nature, and regardless of political majority or party – would need to adhere to the court’s declaratory judgment, protecting the rights of our nation’s children to a safe climate.

Photo by Markus Spiske (pexels.com)

Despite President Biden’s promises to listen to youth and address the climate crisis, his Department of Justice is still actively opposing the Juliana case, denying their rights and seeking to prevent the young plaintiffs from presenting evidence to a judge in open court of how their own government is causing them harm.

For seven years, these 21 young people, from across the United States and including 11 Black, Brown, and Indigenous youth, have waited for their day in court, delayed again and again by tactics employed by the Department of Justice to impede or dismiss their case. And for seven years, young people like these 21 young Americans have suffered from increasingly severe climate harms.

The time for climate justice is now.

Sign the petition today and tell Attorney General Garland that it is time for the Department of Justice to end its opposition to Juliana v. United States proceeding to trial. These young Americans have the right to be heard by their nation’s courts and their claims should proceed like any other constitutional case.

Tell Attorney General Garland Today: Let the Youth Be Heard!

Thank you in advance for signing on in support. Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: MLK and environmental justice

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day which makes this Movement Monday post a no-brainer. Of course I must cite MLK who led the call for environmental justice. I can’t find the particulars surrounding this quote, but his words are powerful and still true today:

“Together we are approaching environmental justice just as what it is: It is a civil rights issue. By examining environmental requirements in conjunction with our civil rights laws, I am confident that we can do a better job of assuring fairness and advancing justice.”

By Trikosko, Marion S.

MLK recognized that people living in racially divided communities are exposed to higher rates of pollution and environmental hazards. These are frontline communities, typically BIPOC and poor people. For instance, the people of St. James Parish in Louisiana who are surrounded by petrochemical plants but scored a major victory when courts ruled against Formosa Plastics building a new plant. The people organized and fought for environmental justice.

In September, I highlighted the water crisis in Jackson, Mississippi, a predominantly Black community.  Guess what? Their water troubles continue. The people of Jackson are suffering their third water crisis in two years, this time due to pipes freezing and bursting.  They had no running water for Christmas. Last year, the EPA determined the Jackson water system has been in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act.

As a white woman of privilege, I can’t fathom having to boil water before using it for cooking and bathing. I can’t imagine not having access to bottled water and, instead, using buckets to catch rainfall. As an elderly man quoted in that linked article said, “This is no way to live.”

In 1963, MLK led a civil rights march in Jackson following the murder of civil rights leader Medgar Evers.  In honor of MLK’s leadership and the people of Jackson who continue to suffer justice, both civil and environmental, I invite you to check out mutual aid organization Cooperation Jackson and make a donation.

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: spark some Joye

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I share info about frontline communities that are enduring the worst of the climate crisis and the effects of fossil fuel infrastructure.

JOYE BRAUN DAY OF ACTION
Joye was a water protector and pipeline fighter who died in November 2022. Earlier in the year I attended several organizing calls in which Joye spoke and she was absolutely incredible. Joye was funny and knew how to fire up and empower activists. We’re all poorer without her here, but she’d certainly want us to continue the fight. Check out this link to find a climate justice/Indigenous rights action near you in honor of Joye’s work.

Note: Here in Colorado, rather than honoring Joye on January 20th, we’ll gather outside the capitol on the 17th when Governor Polis gives his State of the State address.

I’d love to hear what actions are happening near you so please drop a note in the comments. Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: share a climate victory!

On this final Monday of 2022, instead of asking you to make a phone call or send an email, I’d like you to join me in highlighting positive climate action around the world. The climate crisis can feel overwhelming, but good things are happening and it’s important to maintain hope for a livable future. So this week’s ask:

Share a climate victory in the comments. This can be something from your city or state, or news from another state or country. It can be a climate activist elected to office. If you don’t know of any specific climate victory, share a cool innovation you came across. Basically, I want to hype the endless possibilities for averting the worst effects of the climate crisis. 

I’ll go first.

 

In November, 70% of Denver voters approved the WASTE NO MORE ballot initiative. This will require Denver area construction sites to properly dispose of all waste and materials. It also requires businesses (restaurants, hospitals, apartment buildings, hotels, sporting arenas, festivals, etc.) to provide compost and recycling services.

This is very important because per the USDA “Food loss and waste also exacerbates the climate change crisis with its significant greenhouse gas (GHG) footprint. Production, transportation, and handling of food generate significant Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions and when food ends up in landfills, it generates methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas.”

Per CBS Colorado, data from the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG) and Eco-Cycle show that despite businesses in Denver generating about 55 percent of the city’s municipal waste, they weren’t required to recycle or compost. And now they are!

That’s one piece of good news here in Colorado!

What’s your good climate news? Please share in the comments to help expand perspectives on what’s possible when people work together for positive change.

Climate Movement Mondays: Dirty Deal AGAIN

UPDATE 12.20.22: Manchin’s dirty permitting deal is NOT included in the omnibus spending bill. This is the power of collective action!!

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I share information about frontline communities enduring the worst effects of climate change and what we can do to help them. I started writing a post to celebrate the third defeat of Manchin’s dirty permitting deal last week and then found out (as expected), this zombie legislation hasn’t yet died. Now Manchin and Schumer want to add it to the omnibus spending bills this week.

One of my Denver zombie crawl images from years ago

PLEASE make some phone calls (or emails). Even if these senators aren’t from your state, it’s entirely okay to contact them. I say, “I am a climate constituent from Colorado where we’re coming up on the one-year anniversary of the Marshall Fire that did over $2 billion in damages, and we cannot afford more fossil fuel projects like the Mountain Valley Pipeline.” Unfortunately, you all have some climate crisis happening in your own state (drought, flooding, wind damage, etc). If completed, the Mountain Valley Pipeline will affect the climate for everyone, not only those in its path.

 

 

I’m looking forward to celebrating the fourth defeat of coal baron Manchin’s diry deal. Thank you in advance for standing with the people and planet. Solidarity! ✊🏽

 

Climate Movement Monday: petition + phone calls needed

Welcome back to Movement Mondays! Sometimes I feel like a voice in the wilderness, but I can’t stop sharing info and action items in support of those living on the frontlines of the climate crisis. We are ALL in this together. If you love plants, animals, nature, people, clean air & water, you have a stake in climate action.

Image by Filmbetrachter from Pixabay

Today, I’m asking you to:

  1. SIGN A PETITION urging Biden to uphold his pledge to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. I’ve written before about the Willow Project (here & here) and if approved, this project would be a massive carbon bomb. Today, the Washington Post reported this:

    At the northern tip of Alaska, the city of Utqiagvik on Monday reached its warmest temperature ever observed between November and March, when the mercury shot up to 40 degrees — 36 degrees above the norm.

    The record-crushing high temperature was six degrees higher than the next warmest December reading ever measured there, in more than a century of records. It marked yet another exceptional extreme event in a region that is rapidly warming because of human-caused climate change.

    Clearly, we cannot afford the Willow Project.

    2. CALL YOUR REPRESENTATIVES to stop Manchin’s dirty permitting deal. We’ve beaten it back twice before (here & here) and can do it again!!! From Climate Justice Alliance:

    • Call your Members of Congress (call script below) at 202-224-3121.*If for any reason this doesn’t connect you, find your Senators’ number here.

    Call Script for Democratic Senators: Hi, my name is ____, & I’m from ____. As your constituent I’m calling to demand that you do all you can to stop Senator Manchin’s dirty “permitting” proposal from being attached to any must pass legislation. Protecting our communities and climate is more important and we must transition away from fossil fuels now and protect communities’ rights to be free from harm in the process. Stand with the communities impacted by fossil fuels and the climate crisis and stop this permitting reform from being attached to any must-pass legislation.

    Call Script for Republicans Senators: Hi, my name is ____, & I’m from ____. I’m a constituent in your district calling to ask you to stop democratic Senator Manchin’s side deal on permitting reforms. Citizens and states should have the right to protect themselves. The bill proposed by Senator Manchin infringes upon our rights to protect ourselves by deliberately stripping us of our ability to speak out against toxic projects built near our front door.  Stand with the workers, farmers, and communities that are impacted by dirty energy projects built on their land, and stop Senator Manchin’s dirty “permitting” proposal from being attached to any must-pass legislation

    Thank you in advance for your actions! Solidarity! ✊🏽

     

Climate Movement Monday: phone calls needed asap!

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I share info along with calls to action on behalf of frontline communities that are enduring the worst of the climate crisis.

I’m coming in briefly with this one because the issue moved faster than anticipated.

Senator Schumer and Speaker Pelosi are in talks to attach Manchin’s Dirty Deal to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Quick summary: this dirty deal is a fossil fuel industry wishlist to fast-track fossil fuel projects, gut bedrock environmental protections, endanger public health, and push Manchin’s pet project, the Mountain Valley Pipeline. WE STOPPED IT IN SEPTEMBER AND WE CAN STOP IT AGAIN!!!

Action: phone calls needed ASAP.

Senate Majority Leader Schumer: (202) 224-6542
Speaker Pelosi: (202) 225-4965
House of Representatives switchboard: (202) 224-3121
Senate switchboard: (202) 224-3121

Message: Do NOT attach Manchin’s “permitting reform” to the NDAA or any other must-pass legislation. Protecting our communities and climate is much more important than  giving another gift to the fossil fuel industry. Stand with the communities impacted by fossil fuels and the climate crisis, and stop the dirty deal! 

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: support on Giving Tuesday

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I provide information and ways to support the frontline communities suffering the worst effects of climate change. Whether we want to face facts or not, the climate crisis is upon us and the sooner we act the better our chances to lessen the impact. Either way, an energy transition will happen. Tomorrow is Giving Tuesday so I’m highlighting organizations working hard on behalf of frontline communities. Donations of any amount (today or tomorrow) are greatly appreciated!

Image by Shameer Pk from Pixabay

Founded in 1997, Appalachian Voices brings people together to protect the land, air and water of Central and Southern Appalachia and advance a just transition to a generative and equitable clean energy economy.

To achieve this, we work to end harmful fossil fuel practices such as mountaintop removal coal mining and construction of unnecessary fracked-gas pipelines. We also strive to shift to clean, 21st-century energy sources including energy efficiency, solar and wind power, and stand up to monopoly utility practices that put profits over people. Our ultimate goal is to establish economic solutions that create community wealth and sustain Appalachia’s mountains, forests and waters.

The NDN Collective Climate Justice Campaign builds power throughout Indigenous communities in order to tackle the climate crisis. Our team runs and supports campaigns aimed at ending extraction, contamination, and violence in our territories. We advance policy changes, coalition building, and advocacy, while supporting the solutions-based work happening across our nations that utilizes traditional ecological knowledge in order to develop climate adaptive solutions that reflect our values of living with respect for all sources of life.

Healthy Gulf’s purpose is to collaborate with and serve communities who love the Gulf of Mexico by providing the research, communications, and coalition-building tools needed to reverse the long pattern of over exploitation of the Gulf’s natural resources.

We are preparing to launch an unprecedented solutions campaign to offer communities around the world a just pathway to 100 percent renewable energy. We need to set up infrastructure and ways of collaborating to bring clean energy access and justice to our systems everywhere. 

Thank you in advance for reading and donating. Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: STOP the Dirty Deal

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I share information on how to support the frontline communities living with the worst effects of climate change. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, today’s quick ask involves Senator Manchin’s “Dirty Deal.” Again. This permitting “reform” legislation (that would gut environmental protections (such as Clean Water) and fast-track fossil fuel projects such as the Mountain Valley Pipeline) is Manchin’s pet zombie that refuses to die.

BUT, we defeated Manchin’s attempt to attach the dirty deal to the Continuing Resolution (government funding bill) in late September and we can do it again as he tries to get it passed as part of another piece of funding legislation–such as, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). There are already a number of Senators and Representatives who are speaking out against the Dirty Deal, but we need to let ALL of them know we are opposed to this legislation.

PLEASE, take one OR two actions:

  1. Go here to write one email to send to your Representative and Senators. You may send the template as-is, or personalize your message.
  2. Dial (917) 791-2257 to get connected to your Representative and leave a message (here’s a basic script):

Hi, my name is ____ and I’m from ____. I’m very concerned about climate change and as your constituent, I’m calling to demand you do everything you can to block legislation like the Energy Independence and Security Act. The planet is on fire and you must stand with the communities impacted by fossil fuels and the climate crisis. Please, stop the dirty deal!

Thank you in advance for your actions. Solidarity!✊🏽

 

Climate Movement Monday: innovation

Welcome back to Movement Mondays! I usually share information about frontline communities that are bearing the worst effects of the climate crisis and then include an action item you can take in support of those communities. But this week, as the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP27) caters to the 600+ fossil fuel lobbyists in attendance (a 25% increase over last year’s COP), I’ve decided to share “good news” innovations from around the world in hopes of expanding your perception of what’s possible.

FRANCE is working on legislation that would require parking lots with 80 or more spaces to install solar panels. This requirement is for new and existing parking lots. The government estimates the panels will generate as much power as ten nuclear reactors.

MEDELLIN, COLUMBIA is the country’s second largest city and now has 30 “green corridors” comprised of native trees and tropical plants. There are over 12 miles of interconnected shady walking and bicycle routes. The vegetation has lessened the air pollution and dropped the urban temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius since 2018.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS is the site of the first Great Bubble Barrier. This innovation traps plastic in canals, rivers, and streams, and prevents it from flowing into the ocean. Two-thirds of plastic waste in the oceans is transported there by canals and streams.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN has built the world’s first electrified road. A portion of the road connecting to the airport recharges electric vehicles as they drive over it. Sweden has plans to expand this innovation throughout the country.

This is just a tiny sampling of what’s being done around the world. We have the technology to do good things for the people and planet, and it’s on us to push for these innovative practices.

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: No more oil & gas leases on public lands

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I share information, including how to take action on behalf of the frontline communities suffering the worst effects of climate change.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

As I write this, COP27 (United Nations Climate Change Conference) is taking place in Egypt. António Guterres, the Secretary-General of the UN understands the gravity of the situation. This morning he tweeted:

I have just warned global leaders at #COP27: We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator. Our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible. We need urgent #ClimateAction.

Urgent climate action means all fossil fuels must remain in the ground!

That’s why today’s action is aimed at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Because of the “poison pills” in the Inflation Reduction, the BLM is currently preparing oil and gas lease sales in Wyoming, New Mexico, and Kansas.

PLEASE use this form to let the BLM know you strongly oppose the proposed lease sales.  There’s a letter template in place. You can send as-is or personalize. I kept my message brief and to the point.

Thank you for efforts on behalf of the planet’s most vulnerable. Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: NO to the Willow Project

Welcome back to another edition of Movement Mondays in which I offer info on how we can support frontline communities who are enduring the worst effects of climate change. Today, we’re revisiting the Willow Project.

Caribou, geese, loons, salmon, polar bears, whales & 13 communities all call the Western Arctic home. Any threat to this robust ecosystem puts all its inhabitants at risk.

Last summer, a federal judge in Alaska rejected permits for the project. In response, the Biden administration is writing a supplemental impact statement. Once that’s completed, it will decide whether to approve the project. The decision is expected by the end of the year.

If approved, the Willow Project would pump more than 500 million barrels of oil over 30 years from a fragile Arctic ecosystem. This would release more than 250 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, according to the analysis and estimates by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management.

My ask this week: write to President Biden here and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland here, asking them to “Stop the Willow Project.” 

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: in solidarity with East African protestors

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I share info on how to support frontline communities that are bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. Before I give you the specifics on this week’s ask, I wanted to share some good news.

Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP) has dropped all eminent domain proceedings in North Carolina! This is due to the work of Indigenous and Black communities that fought back. However, the MVP fight continues in  Virginia and West Virginia, although it was dealt a serious blow when Sen. Joe Manchin was forced to pull his “Dirty Deal” permitting reform legislation last month. Organizing works!

Today’s action comes via 350.org and I’m asking for short notes of solidarity for nine climate protestors facing prison time as they fight to #StopEACOP (East African Crude Oil Pipeline). As someone who was briefly jailed for climate protest, I know how important it is to feel supported by those on the outside. Here’s the background via 350.org:

French oil giant Total and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation are building the world’s longest, heated, crude oil pipeline – right through the heart of Africa. This pipeline will devastate communities in Uganda and Tanzania and tip the world closer to climate disaster. If completed, the pipeline will displace 100,000 people from their land and threaten the water 40 million people depend on.

Image Source: Fridays for Future/ Twitter

This year, the UN climate talks – COP27 – will take place in Africa. Now is the perfect time to show world leaders the fight communities in East Africa are leading against this pipeline and for the climate

Here’s the link for signing onto the letter of support. If you can add a short note of support, it will be greatly appreciated. You can find more information about the pipeline and the international fight against the project PLUS sign up for one daily action re EACOP this week here.

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: re-instate ban on crude oil exports

Welcome back to another Climate Movement Monday in which I provide info on how we can support frontline communities (typically BIPOC and poor people) who are suffering the greatest effects of climate change. I’m not going to lie, my climate anxiety is very high these days as we learn the crisis is accelerating beyond earlier predictions. But this does NOT mean it’s foregone and that we can give up. To the contrary, it’s vital we all push for a just transition to renewables.

Below, I’ve pasted an entire Op-Ed (in The Hill) from the climate political director of the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund  that lays out the multiple dangers of being at the mercy of OPEC and relying on fossil fuels.  My ask today is that you contact President Biden:

1) demand he re-instate the ban on crude oil exports
2) demand he declare a climate emergency

Comment line (11A-3P, Tues-Thurs): 1-202-456-1111
TTY/TTD: 1-202-456-6213
Email: Here

Solidarity! ✊🏽

On the same day that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its oil-exporting allies, which include Russia, agreed to raise oil prices with a major supply cut, President Biden was touring Hurricane Ian’s damage in Florida, declaring that it “ends discussion” on the climate crisis. Both show why Biden needs to reinstate the U.S. ban on crude oil exports.

The multidimensional threats from fossil fuels are evident in everything from intensifying superstorms, wildfires and heatwaves to toxic pollution and spiraling energy prices. OPEC’s production cut just before our midterm elections demonstrates how petrostate power threatens both economies and democracy.

Congress lifted the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports at the behest of the oil industry, right as the Paris climate talks drew to a close in 2015. Big Oil wanted the ban lifted so it could reap greater profits from the oil and gas production boom enabled by fracking — the ultra-hazardous extraction technique that exploits new oil and gas sources at the expense of our climate, health and wildlife habitat.

At the time, oil companies promised that the production boom and lifting of the export ban would lead to energy security and lower gas prices. Surprise, surprise — the oil industry lied. Despite record-high U.S. production, Americans face painful prices at the pump, along with record-high inflation driven in large part by fossil fuel energy prices.

OPEC’s announcement that it will cut production to further spike prices shows how deference to oily oligarchs not only sustains fossil-fueled greed but enables petrostate aggression. Putin’s brutal invasion of Ukraine was only possible due to fossil fuel production revenues. Now, in a world already destabilized by that war, Russia, OPEC and its allies, all but openly aim to influence the tremendously consequential midterm elections by manipulating oil prices.

The way for Biden to protect people from price spikes and profiteering is to accelerate the transition to clean renewable energy and end the fossil fuel era once and for all.

As a life-on-Earth-saving bonus, reinstating the crude oil export ban will help end the fracking free-for-all that has supercharged greenhouse gas pollution and the climate crisis. In fact, 85 percent of planet-warming pollution comes from oil, gas and coal. Scientists have been crystal clear that new fossil fuel production is “moral and economic madness.”

Next Biden must direct his executive branch agencies to comply with existing U.S. environmental law and stop approving new fossil fuel infrastructure and extraction projects — none of which serve the public interest. Most major fossil fuel projects require permits from one or more federal agencies. Just as the Biden administration denied the disastrous Keystone Pipeline as contrary to the public interest, other unsustainable and financially risky fossil fuel ventures should be denied.

The oil, gas and coal in fields and mines that are already in production, or where the capital has already been invested, are more than enough to get us to the other side of the clean energy transition. Indeed, the world cannot afford to burn all the fossil fuels in already developed reserves globally — doing so would push us way past the 1.5 degrees Celsius limit agreed to in the Paris climate treaty to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Kassie Siegel is climate political director at the Center for Biological Diversity Action Fund.

Climate Movement Monday: Indigenous Peoples’ Day reading list

Welcome back to Movement Mondays in which I share info in support of frontline communities that are enduring the greatest impact of the climate crisis. Today is Indigenous Peoples’ Day and I’d like to honor them by acknowledging the disproportionate climate effects indigenous people face as a result of colonialism. A recent seven-year study found “As a result of the near-total loss of their tribal lands, [ ], Indigenous people are forced to live in areas that are, on average, more exposed to climate change hazards like extreme heat and decreased precipitation.” 

So, thanks to an email from bookshop.org  that put many of these titles on my radar, here’s a list of newly released books written by Indigenous authors. I hope you’ll check them out.

Fresh Banana Leaves: Healing Indigenous Landscapes Through Indigenous Science
by Jessica Hernandez, PhD.

“In Fresh Banana Leaves, Jessica Hernandez weaves personal, historical, and environmental narratives to offer us a passionate and powerful call to increase our awareness and to take responsibility for caring for Mother Earth.” A must-read for anyone interested in Indigenous environmental perspectives.”

 

No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies: A Lyric Essay
by Julian Aguon (introduction by Arundhati Roy)
Part memoir, part manifesto, Chamorro climate activist Julian Aguon’s No Country for Eight-Spot Butterflies is a collection of essays on resistance, resilience, and collective power in the age of climate disaster; and a call for justice—for everyone, but in particular, for Indigenous peoples.

 

Becoming Kin: An Indigenous Call to Unforgetting the Past and Reimagining Our Future
by Patty Krawec, Nick Estes (Foreward)
Settlers dominated and divided, but Indigenous peoples won’t just send them all home. Weaving her own story with the story of her ancestors and with the broader themes of creation, replacement, and disappearance, Krawec helps readers see settler colonialism through the eyes of an Indigenous writer.

And here’s one last title that’s next on my TBR pile:

Night of the Living Rez
by Morgan Talty
In a brash, irreverent story collection, “Night of the Living Rez,” Morgan Talty illuminates life and death on the Penobscot Indian Nation reservation.

 

 

Thank you for reading and I wish you all a good week.
Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: offering support after Hurricane Ian + update re farmworkers

Welcome back to Climate Movement Mondays in which I highlight frontline communities in need of our support as the climate crisis worsens. Last week, Hurricane Ian hit southwest Florida with Category 4 strength (150 mph winds). As of this writing, the death toll is at 100 while the search continues for survivors. Many are without power or drinking water. Here are some organizations to support (remember, any amount helps!):

  • Community Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) is a grassroots disaster relief effort. We serve the most vulnerable populations food, water and assist with restoring resilience after man-made and natural disasters. We believe that your neighbor is your 1st responder. Our goal is to ensure we have all the necessary tools and protocols in place when disaster strikes via emergency mobilization with a rapid response.
    Donate here 
  • World Central Kitchen is already in place, serving hot meals.Staging Relief Teams ahead of landfall, WCK and our local partners were ready to begin serving fresh meals as soon as it was safe to do so. Within hours of the storm’s passing, we began distributing sandwiches and cooking hot, nourishing meals at our Relief Kitchen. Additionally, we have built partnerships with restaurants ready to help us scale immediately.
    Donate here
  • Team Rubicon is a veteran-led humanitarian organization that serves global communities before, during, and after disasters and crises. Your donations go directly to our Ready Reserve Fund which increases the efficiency and capacity of Team Rubicon’s response to crises like this.
    Donate here 
  • Farm Share is a Florida nonprofit that sources leftover fruits and vegetables from farms and distributes them to people across the state. Established in 1991 as a food bank, Food Share partners with 2,000 food pantries, churches, schools, and other nonprofits throughout Florida to distribute food every single day.
    Donate here

Vehicles sit in flood water at the Palm Isle apartments in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian, Sept. 29, 2022, in Orlando, Fla.  (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Thank you in advance for your support! And I wanted to share a good-news update: California Governor Newsom signed the Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act! This means farmworkers, those hardworking individuals who feed ALL OF US, can now vote for or against a union without interference from their employers. This is the second good-news update for Climate Movement Mondays!

Please note: the climate crisis is worsening and the hurricane season is NOT over yet. The best thing we can do as a society is keep all fossil fuels in the ground and make a just and equitable transition to renewable energy. We need YOU in the fight.

Solidarity! ✊🏽

 

 

Update on yesterday’s STOP the Dirty Deal post

Happy news, people! The organizing power of 600+ environmental organizations and frontline community groups has won the day. Because of our calls and emails in opposition to the dirty side deal that would have gutted bedrock environmental laws, eliminate public input, and fast-track fossil fuel projects, Senator Joe Manchin asked Senator Schumer to delete the permitting language from the Continuing Resolution (which is the funding to keep government running) that will be voted on this evening.

Why did he do this? Because his dirty deal did NOT have the votes to pass.

People power for the win!!!!!

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Thank you to everyone who called and emailed representatives! You made this happen! Good things happen when people stick together.

Solidarity! ✊🏽