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!✊🏽

 

Voicing my values

The news out of Colorado Springs is horrific. Yet, we’ve had warnings this could happen because of the hateful rhetoric aimed at the LGBTQ community. Over the past year, the conservatives have ramped up their fear-based campaign and those hateful words resulted in deadly consequences in my state . . . on Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I wanted to share something I saw earlier on Twitter: a woman said that when she worked at a community college, she had posters that reflected her values displayed in her cubicle and at the end of the semester, a student thanked her for the LGBTQ poster that voiced solidarity. The student said the poster signaled that the woman was a safe place for them on campus. Such a small yet powerful action that could save a life.

Another woman replied, saying her trans son sends her pictures when he sees classrooms, people, or businesses that display signs, stickers, pins–anything that signals inclusivity. She said those are a true signal of safety and support for him. He looks and notices. Those shirts and stickers are meaningful to him.

This is a simple thing we can all do. A quick online search brought up this sticker. I’ll buy a some stickers to put on my laptop and car along with a shirt or two. And I’m going to locate the LGBTQ pin I wore years ago and put it on my jacket again.

I hope you’ll join me in these simple acts of solidarity. We must let the LGBTQ community know they are valued and aren’t alone.

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! ✊🏽

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! ✊🏽

PSA: We’re all in this together

A friend is struggling mightily right now, and she’s not alone in her feeling of overwhelm and hopelessness. Every one of us is dealing with personal stuff on top of the societal and planetary crises. I want to note this here and now, as a reminder for the next time someone cuts me off in traffic or doesn’t return a wave or any number of completely trivial things that might wind me up.

Everyone is dealing with way too much these days. But we’re all in this together and we are all we’ve got.

So, it’s good to extend a little grace whenever we can. 🌻

Climate Movement Monday: in support of farm workers

Today I’m posting to raise awareness about the plight of farm workers who are greatly affected by the climate crisis. They toil in extreme heat in order for us to have food to eat.

             Workers harvest green kale at Ratto Bros. farm west of Modesto, on Friday, July 24, 2020.                                    Photo by Andy Alfaro, Modesto Bee

Here are a few recent updates from agricultural fields in California, via the United Farm Workers’ twitter account.

I lived in Bakersfield for two years and can tell you the San Joaquin Valley is HOT. I struggled living there because of the heat and dusty air, and would not have been able to handle working in the fields. These workers perform back-breaking labor under extreme circumstances (hello, Covid!) and deserve our gratitude, respect, and support.

Right now, there’s legislation waiting for Governor Newsom’s signature. The Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act (AB 2183) would allow workers to vote for or against a union without interference from their employers.

SUMMARY
This bill amends the Agricultural Labor Relations
Act to facilitate the ability of farmworkers to vote
for or against unionization. The bill expands voting
options for farmworkers by allowing them to
choose if they want to vote at a physical location,
or vote by mailing or dropping off a representation
ballot card to the Agricultural Labor Relations
Board (ALRB) office. Farmworkers would be able to
receive assistance in filling out and returning their
representation ballot card as long as the person
assisting them co-signs it, and it is returned to the
ALRB office in a sealed and signed envelope.

President Biden has come out in support of AB 2183: I strongly support California’s Agricultural Labor Relations Voting Choice Act (AB 2183), which will give California’s agricultural workers greater opportunity to organize and collectively bargain for better wages, benefits, and working conditions. (full statement here)

Some of the workers marched 335 miles last month in blistering heat to gather outside the capitol in Sacramento to urge Newsom to sign the bill. Please call Governor Newsom’s office (916-445-2841) OR email to demand he do right by the people who feed us. Do it for Maria and the others.

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: supporting Jackson, Mississippi

Jackson is the capital city of Mississippi. The population is 82% Black and, for decades, politicians have kicked the “water” can down the road in terms of financial investment to upgrade the crumbling infrastructure. On August 28, heavy rainfall caused the Pearl River to overflow its banks. The water treatment facility failed and 150,000 people are now without water.

No drinking water.
No cooking water.
No bathing water.
No water to flush toilets.
No water to put out fires.

Flooding on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Canton. wjtv.com

This is a classic example of environmental racism. This type of precarious water situation is happening around the country and will continue to happen to frontline communities in the climate crisis. We need an immediate energy transition that is just and equitable!

Right now, we can all pitch in to help the people of Jackson.

CooperationJackson.org: Donate here.
Immigrant Alliance for Justice and Equity: Donate here.
Mississippi Rapid Response Coalition–Water Fund: Donate here.

Thank you in advance for standing in solidarity with the people of Jackson. ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: in support of Healthy Gulf

Today is the 17th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the 1-year anniversary of Hurricane Ida. These devastating storms destroyed Gulf communities that are still struggling to rebuild. The storms were climate-induced, but the negligent government response was 100% man-made. [Note: Below is a Twitter thread re Katrina along with an article that includes profiles of people in Louisiana coastal parishes fighting to rebuild after Ida. I highly recommend reading both.]

Photo by Jerry Brown (HUD) aerial view of impact of Hurricane Katrina 9/12/2005

Healthy Gulf is a coalition of five states along the Gulf of Mexico. Their core values include Environmental Health: We believe that supporting the environmental health and ecosystem richness of the Gulf region is necessary to secure quality of life, sense of place, economic vitality, and social justice within all Gulf communities.

Today’s climate action is to send a letter demanding no new oil and gas leases in the Gulf. As always, the template is there for you to send as-is, or personalize. The most important thing is to lend your name and voice to this fight.

Here’s the link to some background information and the petition.

Thank you in advance for standing in solidarity with coastal communities. We can and must protect them from further needless pollution and catastrophe. ✊🏽

READ BELOW for eye-opening & heart-breaking personal accounts of living through Hurricanes Katrina and Ida.

https://southerlymag.org/2022/08/29/they-want-us-gone-black-louisianans-fight-to-rebuild-a-year-after-ida/

Climate Movement Monday: stop the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Welcome to the first “Movement Monday” post in which I’ll provide info on how to take quick and direct action in support of frontline communities. As I posted here, the Inflation Reduction Act includes “poison pills” that adversely affect poor communities of color and Indigenous people. It’s vital that privileged people such as myself lend support and voice to their fights. I hope you’ll join me.

Today’s quick action is on behalf of Appalachian people in West Virginia and Virginia who are fighting the Mountain Valley Pipeline (MVP). The 303-mile natural gas pipeline is billions of dollars over budget and years behind schedule.**

The Mountain Valley Pipeline under construction in Virginia. Courtesy of Wild Virginia

In the past several months, two separate federal permits were revoked, but they’re expected to be resubmitted to Biden for approval. This is where we come in.

Here’s a link for contacting the Biden administration. A draft letter is supplied and you can add your name and send that letter as-is. You can also rework the letter to  personalize it. The most important messages to send:

  • Cancel Mountain Valley Pipeline’s federal permits
  • NO to Mountain Valley Pipeline

Thank you in advance for your time and energy on this! Solidarity!

**More info available from the POWHR coalition (Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights)

What’s the plan

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
~ Mary Oliver

June 22, 2022

I don’t know about you, but the events of the past weeks have cranked up my attention-deficit tendencies as my brains thinks “I need to work on that issue which affects this and this issue, and then there’s this other issue which is also connected to this that and the other issue, but they’re all so so important and need immediate attention, so where to focus?”

And that’s how they want it. They’ve intentionally created chaos and hardship in order to grind us down. A whack-a-mole world in which we’re forced to constantly swing our mallets at the problems, diluting our energies and coating us in a thick layer of despair. (Brace yourselves for an upcoming SCOTUS opinion on the EPA and the end of environmental regulations.)

But, as Mariame Kaba says “Let this radicalize you rather than lead you to despair.” [Note: one of the best books I’ve read, ever, is Kaba’s We Do This ‘Til We Free Us]. And as for my ADD thoughts about where to put my efforts, I found this Twitter thread immensely helpful:

The gist is: keep on doing what you’re doing PLUS be intentional about strengthening ties with other organizations/efforts to create more collaboration. Build on what you’re already doing.

Personally, my current plan is to continue revising my middle grade novel that’s a friendship story set against a backdrop of PIC abolition and restorative justice. Doing that work helps me avoid despair. Creativity has always brought me peace and balance, so add a pinch of radicalism in the content plus weave in some of what I’m continuing to learn, and I’m (currently) feeling solid re my focus in this one wild and precious life.

Please, reach out if you think your efforts/interests might align so that together we can build something bigger and stronger. ☀️

Twofer Tuesday: House Finch edition

These finches (look closely, there are two) offer a good representation for my current emotional and mental state.

January 1, 2022

Sometimes my feelings are bright, cheery, and upbeat–as they were yesterday while walking in the sunshine with Emma Jean-Jean–and other times my emotions feel more drab and less hopeful, as this morning when tears overwhelmed me during my first yoga session in a while.

The good news is that nature always provides. During that same yoga session, feeders outside the window were visited by a flock of twenty or so wee Bushtits, reminding me of the power of community. Bushtits stick together, chipping and twittering as they forage in a tree and move on to another.

We’re not alone in this difficult reality and I’m grateful for my communities, including this one here.

Sunday Confessional: negative mood

More than four days after taking the saliva test, COVIDCheck Colorado let me know my test results came back negative. Great news! Unfortunately, I feel worse today than yesterday when I was actually able to take a walk around the neighborhood without collapsing in a heap afterward (which is what happened the day before).

Image by Ronald Plett from Pixabay

I’m sure it’s stress-related. What’s being done to healthcare workers, children, teachers and all school employees, service workers, etc. in the name of capitalism is horrifying and rage-inducing. Like watching a slow-motion train wreck.

Looking forward to regaining my energy so I can run some of these feelings out of my system. Please take care of yourselves and know you aren’t alone. Solidarity!

Workers unite!

After hours and hours of staring at my computer monitor as I organized information in preparation of handing off a major project, I was feeling like this sunflower looks. Then my phone rang.

July 3, 2021

It was Wildebeest calling as he walked home from his restaurant shift. He told me about a co-worker getting ripped off by a higher-up and how awesome it felt when another co-worker stood up to management on behalf of the slighted co-worker. Unfortunately (and predictably), nothing was done.

So, in the true spirit of Labor Day, I put a bug in Wildebeest’s ear about getting his co-workers to stand together. I said if they all refused to take shifts with this certain higher-up until the situation was rectified, management would be forced to take action. Wildebeest liked that idea.

Will he follow through? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, I planted an idea and the thought of those workers someday (soon, I hope) using their collective power to force change perks me up immensely.

Solidarity with all workers around the globe!

When the going gets tough

We woke in the middle of the night to the smell of wildfire smoke. Zippy shut off the swamp cooler and closed all windows. It’s only June and wildfire season has begun.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

Since early May, I’ve run every other day and that routine has been crucial for my mental health. I haven’t yet missed a running day and when I got up this morning, I felt so many emotions about the climate crisis and the lack of political will to do anything about it. My despair mounted and, more than ever, I needed to run. The good news is we have a 20+ year-old treadmill (that’s gone through multiple running belts over the years) and I ran on that for 25 minutes. I pounded out the miles, my mind clearing as sweat slicked my skin.

This afternoon I made the mistake of going on Twitter where I came across this tweet:

And I began to spin some more, the anxiety and rage building. So, did I hop on the treadmill again? Nope. This time I began rereading one of my very favorite books:

I highly recommend any book by Cynthia Kadohata, but especially THE THING ABOUT LUCK which is funny and tender and makes my heart sing. *happy sigh*

I have to keep reminding myself that electoral politics is not going to save us. We the people must rise up as one and stand together against the rich and powerful. In the meanwhile, I’m focusing on mutual aid in my community in addition to lots and lots of running and reading.

This day’s been hard, but I’m still standing.

In solidarity

Today I’m in solidarity with this daffodil that bloomed last April before being buried by wet, heavy snow.

April 25, 2020

After the snow melted, the daffodil retained its vibrant colors but required support to keep its head up. A pretty apt description of me and my day. As ever, I’m grateful for my loved ones who prop me up.

Solidarity with workers

Everything is produced by the workers, and the minute they try to get something by their unions they meet all the opposition that can be mustered by those who now get what they produce.               ~ Harry Bridges

 

The Senate is currently conducting a farcical SCOTUS confirmation hearing (during a pandemic, while several Senators are COVID-positive) for a woman who will do the bidding of the powerful elite: crush the working class. The Republicans are seeing the culmination of their decades-long plan to stack the courts with anti-worker judges who will forever change the face of this country. The Dem party pretends to resist but they are equally comfortable with this outcome because they aren’t either jobless or working 2-3 jobs to scrape by, nor are the Dem elites starving, facing eviction, saddled with astronomical medical debt, or living in frontline communities as the climate crisis worsens. This latest SCOTUS judge will consolidate their wealth and power. All’s well.

It’s way past time we rise up.

Workers Unite

Thinking about all the workers out there struggling to pay rent, buy food, keep their lives going. Thinking about one of my sons who is struggling to find a job in this economy and who may very well be moving back home in the near future.  He’s grateful he has a place to land if it comes to that, but it shouldn’t come to that. Not for him and not for other young people facing a bleak future. They should be able to live their lives on their own terms.

This is a disgrace and we must do better. Much better.

Centuries in the making

March 1964 photo by Marion S. Trikosko (donated to public domain)

I believe that there will ultimately be a clash between the oppressed and those that do the oppressing. I believe that there will be a clash between those who want freedom, justice and equality for everyone and those who want to continue the systems of exploitation.  — Malcolm X

People before property

              Denver from my front yard.             May 27, 2020.

Property is intended to serve life, and no matter how much we surround it with rights and respect, it has no personal being. It is part of the earth man walks on. It is not man.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Chipping away

Bushtit , March 11, 2019.

As I work chapter-by-chapter to revise my manuscript, my task feels similar to that of this Bushtit. We both take aim and then chip away at what’s there. The difference is, this feathered friend gets a tasty treat for her troubles while my satisfaction comes from page count.

Maybe I should print out a page or two, and see how they taste . . .

Solidarity, old dude!

Wildebeest made this paper mache sculpture in elementary school and it sat in our storage room for years. I finally cleaned out said storage room this summer and took a photo before disposing of the body. I texted the photo to Wildebeest.

Me: Cleaning out storage room. Saying goodbye to your pirate!
Wildebeest: That’s just horrifying.
Me: The pirate? Or saying goodbye?
Wildebeest: The pirate. Get rid of it ASAP.

Now I’m kinda wishing the sad, old pirate was around to commiserate. I think he’d understand.

Solidarity

Just stuck this sign in our front yard.muslim-solidarity

A small gesture on this dark day but an important one, I believe. There’s a Muslim family up the street and my stomach hurts thinking about how they’re feeling right now.

 

.

America is NOT Broke by Michael Moore

 
                

Micheal Moore went to Madison, Wisconsin, to speak to the courageous
people who refuse to budge in the face of greed and lies.

Here is the transcript. If you read nothing else today, please read this.

Here’s an excerpt:
"Let me say that again. 400 obscenely rich people, most of whom benefited in some way from the multi-trillion dollar taxpayer "bailout" of 2008, now have more loot, stock and property than the assets of 155 million Americans combined. If you can’t bring yourself to call that a financial coup d’état, then you are simply not being honest about what you know in your heart to be true."
The powers-that-be pit us against each other, relying on cultural and social issues (gays, guns, and god)
to fracture what should be a united front against the nauseating greed of the upper class.

So, while moneyed people around the country bemoan the "greed" of public employees
fighting for their right to collective bargaining, these courageous people in Wisconsin stand strong.
We ALL owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

As Michael Moore says:
"Never forget, as long as that Constitution of ours still stands, it’s one person, one vote, and it’s the thing the rich hate most about America — because even though they seem to hold all the money and all the cards, they begrudgingly know this one unshakeable basic fact: There are more of us than there are of them!"

Here’s a YouTube video of him in Wisconsin on March 5.
The opening is especially inspiring because of the emotions expressed by Moore and the protesters,
but also because he reveals this powerful, spot-on piece was written in a couple hours at the end of a very long day:

 
We need heroes now more than ever, and I salute Wisconsin workers for drawing the line in the sand!
           

On Wisconsin!

        

Yesterday I blogged about my preparations for
the Denver rally held in support of Wisconsin workers.

Today I am back with a full report.

The good news: the weather was beautiful and lots of sane people showed up.

The bad news: a bunch of ill-informed, resentful people also made an appearance
(one person even self-identifying as an extremist):

Here’s the very first photo I took from the lower steps (apparently at the exact moment
everyone’s arms got tired and they lowered their signs):

I got there a couple minutes late and was on the outer fringes of main crowd and speeches, 
but my little sign was an immediate hit:

(I was interviewed by Jonathan Brown of NPR/CPR
but have not tracked down his report so don’t know if I made the cut.)

However, not everyone understood by my sign that I supported workers and their
right to collective bargaining.  When I walked silently past the anti-union crowd on my
way out, one man said about my sign, "That’s a good one."  I was stunned until
I looked at my photos later on and saw this:

(And yes, those are Colorado State Patrol officers.
They formed a line between the groups, appearing simultaneously bored and tense).

Here’s a sampling of the support and goodwill flowing from Colorado to Wisconsin
(and other states preparing for their own union-busting assaults) . . .

      

          
  

      

And, perhaps the day’s most compelling argument:

It was a good day and I’m so glad I rallied.
Zippy joined me, and we ran into other friends (Happy Birthday again, Ron!)

This fight is for the heart and soul of workers’ rights,
and I hope the brave people in Wisconsin don’t back down 
in the face of Governor Walker’s ideological war on unions.
(Lest there be any doubt this stand-off has nothing to do with budget deficits and everything to do
with ideology, follow the story regarding billionaire Tea Party-backer David Koch and Gov Walker).

Also, please remember: The unions early-on accepted the wage and benefits reductions; 
they are only demanding their right to collective bargaining.

Wisconsin, we are with you!
All good thoughts headed your way . . .