Reclaim the sort of mindset that prevailed during the civil rights movement and, before that, the anti-slavery movement. “I’m talking about a struggle,” he says, and he’s right, up to a point. If all we did was read the New York Times, we’d be nothing more than spectators watching in moviegoer horror as economic forces finished the job of permanently wrecking our life-sustaining habitat. No, he’s crying. Everything is at stake! This requires blood, discomfort and persistence beyond anything we’ve ever attempted or imagined. But struggle and anger alone won’t do it. We need intense activism along with structural analysis and the building of alternative, sustainable lifestyles. We need wisdom, reverence and creativity that we pull up from the depths of our uncertainty. Author Joanna Macy calls it “the Great Turning.” It’s a shift in consciousness that aligns social healing, economic fairness and an end to war with environmental sustainability. And the time to make it happen is running out. We can’t afford to lose another decade, or another twenty minutes.
As you know, the movement for democracy and justice is sweeping the globe – from democracy revolutions to occupy protests, movements for the rights of workers, students, immigrants, women and Indigenous peoples; resistance to NSA spying, endless war, prison pipelines, tar sands, fracking, nuclear power, GMOs and more. The accelerating climate disaster – now predicted to dismantle civilization as we know it as soon as 2050 – intensifies all these struggles, and provides new urgency for collaboration and unified action. Clearly there is no time to lose. The Convergence calls for a solution as big as the crisis barreling down on us – an emergency green economic transformation, including full employment and living wages; 100 percent clean renewable energy by 2030; universal free health care and education; food and housing security; an end to deportations and mass incarceration; economic and political democracy; demilitarization; ecosystem restoration and support for the rights of Mother Earth; and more. These goals will only be achieved by masses of people coming together in a unified movement, which is exactly what the Convergence is working towards!”
The trolls have been out blasting BuzzFlash at Truthout for calling the fossil fuel industry “eco-terrorists” for careening the earth into a human-made death spiral, but it’s true. Those who can’t smell the carbon dioxide ravaging the earth for hedonistic profit – enabled by federal and many state and local governments – will find out that just because you can’t smell global warming does not mean that it is not brewing a cauldron of devastation just over the horizon. Since 9/11 few Americans have been killed by terrorists, but we have built a multi-billion dollar “anti-terrorist” intelligence, military, surveillance and incarceration state to deal with a threat that pales in comparison to global warming. Toss in the lurking big bang of devastation to life on earth – the grand finale of global warming – and the 1% are living the last days of Pompeii in at least five different ways that are killing many of the rest of us.
I was interested in working to close the two ancient, century-old coal power plants that existed a few miles apart from one another in the communities of Pilsen and Little Village, both on the South Side of Chicago. Each of the coal power plants, Fisk in Pilsen and Crawford in Little Village, operated within hundreds of feet of the homes and residents. I grew up in one of these communities until I was a teenager. It angered me how these outdated coal plants existed despite documented evidence of environmental and health dangers that directly affected residents. In September 2012, the painstaking, decade-long struggle ended with the closure of both coal-powered plants. It was a sweet and joyous victory after all our sweat and toil.
“The IPCC has finally stepped up to the plate in saying what we are up against,” says Dr. Stein, “but they have not begin to step up to the plate, in fact they are really not qualified to say how we fix this. The IPCC is not calling for radical transformation. They have yelled, ‘fire!’ and come out with a squirt gun. What they are calling for is not what we need.” In the second half of the show, Dennis sits down with Dr. Margret Flowers. Recently, Dr. Flowers initiated an online petition declaring herself a consciences objector to the Affordable Care Act and asking others to send a message to President Obama that the ACA is a scam. “The most important conversation we should be having right now in the United States is not how many people are insured,” says Dr. Flowers “knowing that insurance is not protective, it’s: do we want to continue to treat healthcare as a commodity where people only get what they can afford, or do we want to join the rest of the industrialized nations in the world and treat healthcare as a public good and create a system where people can get what they need.”
Next Tuesday, April 22, 2014, Honor is joining with Native peoples and ranchers (called the Cowboy and Indian Alliance) from along the pipeline route in Washington, DC, to show Obama and the world that Native Nations will stand firm in asserting our human and constitutionally protected treaty rights in saying NO to the Keystone XL Pipeline. We won’t be leaving DC until the voices of our people are heard. We invite you to visit us at the tipi camp on the National Mall during the week, but urge you to participate on Saturday the 26th in a day of action. Click here to RSVP, and to donate to Honor the Earth’s work to support this action, and the frontline groups opposing this pipeline in their territories. Just as we keep a close watch on the Keystone XL, we must also work to oppose the pipelines of the north, many of which are as big or bigger than the KXL. Honor has been focusing our efforts on the Sandpiper pipeline.
It’s been a long week here in Berlin, with experts and government officials finalising urgently awaited conclusions from the United Nations climate change panel about the solutions to climate change. Now they’re done and the message is clear: climate action is an opportunity, not a burden! The climate panel, which brings together the world’s top energy and climate experts, says that to prevent catastrophic climate change, energy systems around the world must be urgently and fundamentally transformed. For Greenpeace, the bottom line is: we have to stop burning coal, oil and gas. And we can. Clean, renewable energy is getting bigger, better and cheaper every day and can now provide the solutions the world needs. Renewables are the most economical solution for new power capacity in an ever increasing number of countries.
The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just issued its third of four planned reports. This one is on “mitigation” — “human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases.” The first two reports laid out humanity’s choice as depicted in the figure above, which appeared in both reports. The first report warned that continued inaction would lead to 9°F warming (or higher) for most of the U.S. and Northern Hemisphere landmass, resulting in faster sea level rise, more extreme weather, and collapse of the permafrost sink, which would further accelerate warming. The second report warned that this in turn would lead to a “breakdown of food systems,” more violent conflicts, and ultimately threaten to make some currently habited and arable land virtually unlivable for parts of the year. Now you might think it would be a no-brainer that humanity would be willing to pay a very high cost to avoid such catastrophes and achieve the low emission
The second part of the new IPCC Report has been approved – as usual after lengthy debates – by government delegations in Yokohama (Japan) and is now public. Perhaps the biggest news is this: the situation is no less serious than it was at the time of the previous report 2007. Nonetheless there is progress in many areas, such as a better understanding of observed impacts worldwide and of the specific situation of many developing countries. There is also a new assessment of “smart” options for adaptation to climate change. The report clearly shows that adaptation is an option only if efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions are strengthened substantially. Without mitigation, the impacts of climate change will be devastating.
The heart of the battle to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline from carrying excavated tar sands from Canada through the US on its way to export lies in a small community in South Dakota. Recently members of the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe learned that their Tribal Council was working on a deal to build the power station on their tribal land that will provide electricity to the pipeline. The electricity is necessary to heat the pipeline in order to keep the thick bitumen and chemical additives flowing. In exchange, the community is to receive wind turbines and free electricity. This power station is the heart of the pipeline that will keep the fluids flowing. Without it, the pipeline will not function. That is why members of the Lower Brule community view their struggle to stop the power station as essential. But they are facing opposition not only from TransCanada but also from their own Tribal Council.
From CreativeResistance.org: As part of the Global Climate Convergence, 10 Days to Change Course: Mother Earth Day to May Day National Actions, join the GCC (Global Climate Convergence) the OLB (Overpass Light Brigade) and the Light Brigade Network in “Light Up the Skies for People, Planet & Peace Over Profit” April 25, 2014 as part of the 10 Days to Change Course Mother Earth Day to May Day national actions. No matter where you’re located, you can use your creativity to get out into the night & take action! Light up the skies simply by meeting at the beach with candles or at the park with flashlights. Get out your glow sticks! Use artistic tools and your imagination to express what you are passionate about this Earth Day to May Day! Join a Light Brigade near you. Create a vigil. Bring out glowsticks and candles. Project images or hold your handheld tablets high! Imagine Light!
In a dramatic acknowledgment of the dangers of man-made climate change, and of the direct link between fossil fuels and climate change, nearly 100 members of Harvard University’s faculty sent a “Faculty Open Letter” to Harvard University President Drew Faust and the members of the Harvard University Corporation. The Letter criticizes what its authors describe as a “failure of leadership” and calls on the university to divest its endowment—the largest university endowment in the world—from the fossil fuel industry. In their Letter the faculty state “We wish to remind the Corporation that Harvard boasts a tradition of divestment for ethical purposes—and that now, with massive global consequences from climate change occurring, continued investment represents a political act, too. We therefore ask that the Corporation begin, as soon as possible, to divest from fossil fuel corporations.”
Twenty-five years ago people could be excused for not knowing much, or doing much, about climate change. Today we have no excuse. No more can it be dismissed as science fiction; we are already feeling the effects. This is why, no matter where you live, it is appalling that the US is debating whether to approve a massive pipeline transporting 830,000 barrels of the world’s dirtiest oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. Producing and transporting this quantity of oil, via the Keystone XL pipeline, could increase Canada’s carbon emissions by over 30%. If the negative impacts of the pipeline would affect only Canada and the US, we could say good luck to them. But it will affect the whole world, our shared world, the only world we have. We don’t have much time. . . Who can stop it? Well, we can, you and I. And it is not just that we can stop it, we have a responsibility to do so. It is a responsibility that begins with God commanding the first human inhabitants of the garden of Eden “to till it and keep it”. To keep it; not to abuse it, not to destroy it.
Last weekend, some 300 students from dozens of universities across the United States and Canada gathered at San Francisco State University for the 2014 Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence. Convened by the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network (DSN)—which was formed just over a year ago as a platform for building solidarity across campuses—the Convergence brought together a wide spectrum of activists: students were joined not only by veteran climate activists and direct action trainers, among them several frontline anti-coal and anti-fracking activists, but also by community and labor organizers including a Colombian union leader. With its distinct emphasis on racial and economic justice, the convergence is testament to a new kind of momentum in the climate movement, and to the radicalizing pull of the call to divest. The program notes foreground the goals of “collective liberation” and economic transformation.