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! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: STOP the Dirty Deal!

Welcome back to Movement Mondays! Today my time-sensitive ask is that you make quick phone calls to your representatives AND/OR send emails regarding Senator Manchin’s side deal portion of the Inflation Reduction Act that would gut environmental regulations (Clean Water Act!) and accelerate the federal permitting process for energy projects. This legislation is a gift to the fossil fuels industry and Manchin’s #1 project priority is the Mountain Valley Pipeline.  [NOTE: more background info and links below.]

Basic message: Vote NO to this side deal that will accelerate the climate crisis and is just a gift to the fossil fuel industry.

CALL
917-791-2257 will give you a brief script then connect you to your Senators (thanks to the People vs. Fossil Fuels Coalition).

202-224-3121 is the Capitol Switchboard where you can ask to be connected to your senators and representative.

You may also, of course, call directly to your representatives’ DC and local offices

EMAIL
If you aren’t comfortable making phone calls, you may use your representatives’ email contact form to send your message.

BACKGROUND INFO:

This action is VERY important and phone calls from constituents carry a lot of weight. PLEASE take the time to urge your representatives: NO to the permitting side deal!

Solidarity! ✊🏽

Climate Movement Monday: in support of Puerto Rico, Western Alaska, + other frontline communities

Welcome back to Climate Movement Monday in which I highlight frontline communities in need of support. The climate crisis is on full display this week with hurricanes and typhoon-related storms causing mass destruction. I’m listing local organizations that accept donations. Every bit helps, no amount too small.

WESTERN ALASKA was hit on Friday and Saturday by the remnants of Typhoon Merbock with hurricane-force winds that put coastal villages and towns underwater.

A massive storm battering Western Alaska brought floodwaters to the steps of the local school in Golovin on Saturday. (Courtesy Josephine Daniels)

PUERTO RICO which still hasn’t recovered from Hurricane Maria (exactly five years ago) is now flooded after Hurricane Fiona caused mudslides that knocked out the power grid. Much of the island has no power (it was privatized one year after Maria) and people are in desperate need of drinking water.

Puerto Rico. Stephanie Rojas/Associated Press

Note: Hurricane Fiona is now causing further devastation in the DOMINICAN REPUBLIC.

Also? PAKISTAN continues to suffer from flooding after torrential monsoon rains. The people are bearing the brunt of climate change and must receive climate reparations. “Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous country, accounts for less than 1% of global carbon emissions but ranks as the eighth most vulnerable to climate change, according to the “Global Climate Risk Index 2021,” published by the nongovernmental organization Germanwatch.”

  • Aghosh USA is the org I donated through right after the flooding began.
    Donate here

Okay, if you’ve read this far, I thank you! If you can donate a few dollars, I thank you again. As you can see, the climate crisis is here and certain vulnerable communities will suffer more than others. We need a just energy transition to an equitable world, and that means fossil fuels MUST remain in the ground.

Solidarity! ✊🏽

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 Willow Project

Welcome to the second “Movement Monday” post in which I 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 climate action is in solidarity with Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic (SILA) in their fight against the Willow Project, a massive oil project pushed by ConocoPhillips in Alaska’s fragile western Arctic. (Here’s more background info on the Willow Project).

More then an oil reserve. This land is rich with what has sustained the Iñupiat Peoples since time immortal.
Photo by Keri Oberly

What I’m asking today is for you to take a couple minutes to demand the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) revoke ConocoPhillips’s permits. Here’s where you can find the letter template to submit your comments. As always, it’s okay to send the letter as-is! It’s also much appreciated if you can personalize the letter a bit. (Note: I often rework the first paragraph or two, and then leave the other wording as is or delete it. The point is, you want your message to be “NO to the Willow Project!”)

Thank you in advance for taking climate action on behalf of a frontline community!! ✊🏽

“This project being pushed in our current climate crisis is devastating. The Bureau of Land Management continues to be the yes-people for oil and gas exploitation, no matter the cost to health or our climate. Although oil companies are making record profits, the message being pushed is our administration needs to open more leases to reduce gas prices. We do not have time to debate overseas or domestic oil extraction, we have to transition away from new fossil fuel projects. Biden made a promise to the people who voted him in and is failing at keeping his word. Biden can still be on the right side of history, someone who stood up for a livable earth for future generations.”

– Siqiñiq Maupin; Sovereign Iñupiat for a Living Arctic

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)

Climate & the Inflation Reduction Act

In case you hadn’t heard, this past weekend the Senate voted to approve the Inflation Reduction Act which contains climate policy. There are good components to that policy, but there are also horrific pieces. No surprise there since coal-baron Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and his fossil fuel buddies pretty much wrote the policy that has Exxon, Shell, and BP executives jumping for joy.  A “climate” bill that makes oil and gas happy is not a good deal for the planet.

For instance: solar and wind projects are contingent upon expanding oil and gas drilling . . . millions of acres on and offshore.  That’s right, the very thing driving the climate crisis — fossil fuels –will be expanded.

And who will suffer most? The frontline communities. The people already impacted by fossil fuel projects are completely abandoned by this climate policy. It is absolutely vital that all of us who care about people and planet show up for them in their fights.

So. Starting next Monday, I’m going to institute “Movement Mondays” in which I post a climate action we can take in solidarity with communities around the country. This might be making a phone call or contributing to public comments about a proposed project. Whatever these communities need, we must add our voices to theirs. Everyone deserves clean air and clean water.

If you’ve read this far . . . solidarity! I hope to see you in the fight.

P.S. Here’s a Twitter thread that contains many of the concerns from many of the impacted communities around the country.

P.P.S. Here’s a bit from Kate Aronoff  in The New Republic:
Multiple things can be true at the same time. The Inflation Reduction Act—the first piece of climate policy to pass the Senate ever—is a historic achievement and vitally important given that Democrats may not get to govern again for a decade. It also consigns more people to living next to more fossil fuel infrastructure for longer; in many cases, that means consigning more people—predominantly poor people, Black people, and brown people—to disease and death. We don’t fully know what the bill will do. The IRA’s passage doesn’t close the book on U.S. climate policy so much as open it. As ever, the best guides to navigating what comes next will likely be the people who won it in the first place, and who’ll have to live the closest to its consequences.

Independent reading from Haymarket Books

So-called Independence Day is hitting harder than usual today as there are now fewer rights for the people and more rights for corporatists and authoritarians than a year ago. If you’re feeling overwhelmed/angry/scared/powerless, I highly recommend buying a book from Haymarket Books during their “Summer of Struggle” 40% off sale.

Haymarket Books is an independent, nonprofit organization that publishes books for changing the world, and now through August 15, ALL Haymarket books are 40% off. I’ve learned so much by reading Haymarket books and in addition to educating myself, I always feel less alone in the struggle. Do yourself a favor and buy one book. Read that book and expand your worldview, compassion, and commitment to a better life for all people. And if you feel like sharing, I’d love to know what you’re reading.

Solidarity!

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. ☀️

Lending my voice

These are incredibly hard days on the planet and I’m overwhelmed. But as I revised my middle grade novel this morning, I felt a renewed sense of purpose because this story matters. It’s about community, friendship, mass incarceration, and taking one step forward on the long road to abolition.

This story matters and my voice matters. I cannot crawl into a hole and give up.

March 13, 2022. (Photo by Zippy)

I am on this earth to shine my light and lend my voice to the fight for a better world. This post is a reminder for when I begin to falter again. 💓

Sunnyside up

November is typically a tough month for me due to the lack of daylight and the overall brown palette. This one’s been even harder due to my clomp-clomp boot. Tomorrow will be two weeks of inactivity, but it feels like two months already. And because my foot still hurts, I can’t stop wearing it yet. My follow-up appointment/verdict isn’t for another week, but I’m going to be smart and clomp around until I hear otherwise.

All this is to say that I was heading for an emotional crash a couple hours ago. But I turned my attention to something I’d been dreading and putting off, and what do you know, I feel so much better now! Funny how that works. *ahem*

Here’s to an improved mood and sunny summer memories! And if you’re in need of a boost, I hope this cheery sunflower also brings you a smile.

In my backyard. July 3, 2021

November doesn’t last forever.

Dear Democrats

As Congresspeople return from vacation to their well-paying jobs today, there are actions around the country in support of #SealTheDeal for the full $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill. Because I’m unable to join the others on the streets today, I want to say this:

and this:

and this:

and remind Congress of this:

Lastly, in regards to the Parliamentarian spewing nonsense about not being able to fund items in that reconciliation bill:

We see you, Democrats.

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!

#NoClimateNoDeal

It’s fitting that smoke obscured this photo of a coal plant I took as we drove past on Saturday.

Craig Station. August 7, 2021

We’d been camping at Rifle Falls State Park and woke to the valley filled with wildfire smoke. We quickly packed up and left. Turned out, the entire western half of Colorado was (and continues to be) choked with smoke from wildfires in the northwest. There was no escaping it.

I’ve spent much of the past several days closed off in my bedroom with an air purifier. My climate anxiety was already high and then the UN released its climate report yesterday. (Just typing those words sent a surge of anxiety throughout my system.)

I called my Senators and Representative today, all wealthy white men from Colorado which has been experiencing the worst air pollution in the world, to urge them to drop their incrementalism and vote to save humanity. The Democrats stuck us with a bi-partisan infrastructure bill (something the loathsome yet highly disciplined Republicans would never, ever have done) and we desperately need the reconciliation bill that addresses climate and poverty. The Progressive Caucus in the House is saying #NoClimateNoDeal if climate is stripped from the reconciliation bill and I can only hope they, for once, hold firm. However, I’m not naive enough to believe they’ll use their power to do the right thing. Time and again, they go along with the status quo that’s currently killing us.

Still, I think it’s well-worth a couple minutes of everyone’s time to call their representatives to demand they vote for the people and planet. Demand they keep the reconciliation bill intact. The Capitol switchboard (202) 224-3121
#NoClimateNoDeal

Thank you in advance.

Ready, Set, Go!

Face the week
Embrace the challenges and opportunities
Agitate for a better world
Fight for someone you don’t know.

American Robin. November 3, 2020.

Confession: I’m still in my pajamas and am working from bed today.
Gathering my strength for Ready, Set, Go!
I’ll be there soon, I promise.

Thankful Thursday: Sunrise Movement

Today I’m (again) exceedingly grateful for Sunrise Movement. These young people are  fighting with moral clarity, passion, and a fierce determination.  They endorsed Green New Deal candidates across the country and played a key role in Jamaal Bowman’s victory in New York on Tuesday and what is looking like a victory for Charles Booker in Kentucky. Incredible!

And next up is Colorado’s U.S. Senate primary on June 30th. Sunrise endorsed Andrew Romanoff and I can tell you Sunrise Colorado is on overdrive. Phonebanking, flyering, etc. On Monday, we were in front of Hickenlooper’s house and the crew got me so fired up that I shouted myself hoarse and clapped a big ol’ purple bruise in my palm.

 

Here are some of my Sunrise cohorts in the streets. June 2020.

The tides are turning and the young aren’t going to settle for entrenched, corporate politicians. Change is coming!  So, so grateful for Sunrise Movement! ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

No justice, No peace

Justice is not a natural part of the lifecycle of the United States,
nor is it a product of evolution;
it is always the outcome of struggle.

~ Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation)

Chattanooga, United States.     June 1, 2020     Photo by Kelly Lacy from Pexels