This cartoon for me says it all about our current inadequate action on Climate Change. Who has not seen how Wall Street / Big Oil/ Big Coal has been greenwashing, lobbying, spending millions spreading denier propaganda, and otherwise ruling the debate and shaping media coverage? Thankfully that now may be slowly changing, and we can be a part of accelerating that change. Meteor Blades wrote about even the President firmly broke from the campaign strategy of climate shushiness to an extended answer at a presser. Meteor Blades made some great suggestions for the Pres when he wrote President Obama can and must take serious action on climate change with and without Congress+
Media and Climate Change Action
Seems odd to talk about 'global warming' and 'snowball effect' in the same sentence, but I am getting a sense that the press is finally catching on to the interest in the public on the subject of Climate Change Action.
During the aftermath of Megastorm Sandy many were encouraged to see more coverage of climate change by the media:
"It’s Global Warming, Stupid": As Bloomberg Backs Obama, News Media Ends Silence on Climate Change
Witness this week even Forbes carrying an article on 350.org !!!
The world’s governments agreed at the Copenhagen climate talks that the atmosphere can only tolerate the addition of another 565 gigatons of atmospheric carbon by 2050. This would keep the increase in planetary temperature below 2° C , a scenario that may head off a catastrophic rising of the seas, epic crop failure and a harmful acidification of the ocean. The 2-degree limit is “the reddest of red lines,” as McKibben called it.
However, the world’s fossil-fuel companies — those in coal, oil and natural gas — have proven reserves that, if burned, would add 2,795 gigatons of carbon to the atmostphere, five times above the red line. Since the adding of so much carbon would heat the planet to a point where it’s unlivable, he reasoned, then it is imperative that the fossil-fuel industry be stopped.
350.org’s specific prescription is that colleges, universities and other organizations with large holdings agree “to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.”
McKibben, a skinny and bookish professor at Middlebury College in Vermont, has found a large and passionate following among people frustrated with a lack of action on climate change, especially college students. In 2009, he and a cadre of undergrads founded 350.org and tipped off a viral “Day of Climate Protest” that led to 5,200 rallies in 181 countries, billed as the largest global rally in history. McKibben repeated the trick a year ago when he rallied the largest environmental protest ever outside the White House to halt the Keystone XL pipeline — an effort that turned the pipeline from a done deal to a political hot potato whose outcome is still in doubt. The Keystone XL effort continued yesterday with a rally outside the White House.
Divestment petitions are circulating at colleges around the country, especially at liberal Northeastern colleges such as Vassar, Harvard, Brown and the University of Vermont. The only school to divest so far is tiny, 584-student Unity College in Maine, which had for years been planning to shed its fossil-fuel holdings.
Sunday DC "Do The Math Tour" Livestream Event in Albuquerque
After having met Bill McKibben and hearing him speak last year in Santa Fe my wife and I were disappointed to learn that the "Do The Math Tour" was not coming to New Mexico. We were inspired by McKibben to get involved with 350.org and one thing we did was to 'like' the facebook page 350 New Mexico and begin participating in actions.
Last week we read on FB that there was going to be a livestream event in Albuquerque, so we saddled up our folding bikes, packed our backpacks, reserved a room at the Route 66 Hostel in Albuquerque and hit the trail.
We always enjoy the fairly new NM Railrunner (thank you former NM Dem Gov Bill Richardson) since the tracks take you into 'indian country' through first people's Pueblos and beautiful open desert, with nice mountain views east and west. Because of the limited train schedule we went down on Saturday and had a great evening in revitalized Downtown Albuquerque, enjoying live music and conversation at the 'querque' Launchpad Bar down the street from the hostel.
Next morning we took our bikes on the 66 Bus to the beautiful University of New Mexico campus and participated in the livestream event.
The following report has been written in collaboration with kossack Jakkalbessie , my wonderful wife and lover of 40 plus years.
College Math for Climate Criminals, Switching Defense to Offense, Game Over to Game On
McKibben quoted numerous scientists and players in the climate change movement throughout the livestreamed 'Do the Math Tour' Event, but none more than NASA scientist Dr James Hansen who has concluded that "If you build Keystone XL - game over" .
McKibben said the goal of the movement now is to move from this "game over" situation to "game on". Examples he gave were :
If you are from Maryland need to help us stop fracking by American PetroleumIt was heartening to hear that there were quite a few colleges and university students present in DC for the event and march.
If you are from Virginia, need to help us move Dominion Power to wind power
If you are from D.C., help us march today to stop the Keystone XL pipeline
(The projection equipment at UNM Kiva auditorium was first class, and the livestream experience was overall great except for the occasional commercials that rolled over speakers in middle of sentence.)
The event in DC was to be followed by a march to the Whitehouse, and part of the training for the march during the event was this chant:
I am from Nebraska
I am indigenous
I am a worker
I am a farmer
I am a student
I am a Canadian
I am an American
I can Do the Math
I can Stop the Pipeline
...participated via video. This was the first time we had ever heard him speak. Here are some paraphrased notes from his part:
'We stepped it up in 2007 and then in 2009 took it world wideBill Mckibben Writer and Reluctant Climate Activist
said something to the effect that most of the world population is not causing the problems but are being effected by them (most of those are brown, poor, something to the effect they are not white) 2011 Keystone Pipeline Protest was largest civil disobedience action in 30 years
This is the 21st century - lunch counter movement....'
Bill McKibben said he was a writer by profession, and left to his own devices he was quite happy pecking away alone in his room. But he has felt compelled by our situation to do more. He guessed his basic role by now in life is to "bum people out " enough to take action.
He wrote his book The End of Nature in 1989 (25 years ago) and mused that if we had all done something then how much better things would be.
McKibben praised climate scientist Jim Hanson and called him the Paul Revere of the 350.org movement, which has tried to explain things in syllables small enough for the politicians to understand.
Getting Arrested For Climate Action
McKibben talked about the importance of action, including civil disobedience. He talked about the Stop Keystone XL Pipeline action at the Whitehouse last year . When McKibben, Hansen and Gus Spaeth (from NRDC) and were all arrested at the Keystone protest and were trying to decide what they would say from cell 17 that would in one sentence frame the moment a message was sent by out by 72 year old Gus.
"I have been in some important positions in this town but none as important as this one."
McKibben said that we are reaching our limits and the planet is getting tired, wo we are going after the fossil fuel industry since they are wrecking the future.
Once when he was being interviewed the journalist said this sounded too much like a David and Goliath movement. McKibben told him I am a Methodist Sunday School teacher and I know how this story ends. :)
McKibben mentioned his recent popular Rolling Stone article "Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math" 'you know the one with Justin Bieber on the front cover.'
He shared that he got message from Rolling Stone that they had had 10 times more 'likes' on his story on their Facebook page than the Justin Bieber one !!!
Burning What We Have Already Fail
Bill reported that a new scientific team in the UK said the carbon fuel companies have in huge amounts in their reserves and if we burn just what they have now is 2795 gigatons which is 5 times more than Copenhagen agreements, and if we burn it we will devastate the planet.
The oil industry is a rogue industry and they are up against the law of physics
Exxon alone has 7% of the carbon necessary to move us beyond so they either have to give or physics does.
had been traveling on the Do the Math Bus Tour in the NE but Sunday she participated via video. She was riveting as usual in the video.
She talked about previous use of boycotts against apartheid and that sweatshops, management/labor were all about a specific issue but that now the core problem not just a moral issue but that corporate action is going to wreck the planet.
Klein described how branding is being used against the movement through advertising and media interviews and publishing.
Global Carbon Cartel
Naomi Klein talked about our addiction to carbon and that we could do great things with renewables , but the carbon industry are the pushers and are the Global Carbon Cartel
two and a half decades activists have mobilized but then peter out.... Why?
Now, she said our profound desire is a direct threat to carbon criminals who are so intent on resisting that they are having a wholesale war on truth because it will end their monied paradise.
For years they have fought our movement and are at war with us.
Our survival depends on stopping them and climate change is a cause without an enemy
they think we are the enemy and this is when we get serious
Here's Klein on Democracy Now! before her appearance in 'Do The Math Tour' in NYC.
Naomi Klein: Sandy's Devastation Opens Space for Climate Change Action, Progressive Reform
April - 350.org Connect the Dots
Bill McKibben came back on describing a past 350.org event "Connect the Dots" which had participation from around the world. 400,000 a year are already dying from climate change, saying that 350.org has huge collection of tons of pictures from around the world showing climate change. McKibben said that one of the most powerful of all those to him was the picture of a sign held by child in Haiti--
"Your actions affect me."He said that the statement is not true in the reverse, since their actions do not affect us because they do not use the fossil fuels to the extent we do.
We know what we need to do
Germany is one of the leaders in solar energy and there is no reason we cannot do the same. China is huge leader in building solar panels. One mind boggling statistic he gave was that 25% of the Chinese use a solar panel for heating water or solar water heater,
while less than 1% of the US use solar water heater and that is mainly for heating their swimming pools.
What we must work at creating the political will to win and we can do this moving to alternative energy..
The fossil fuel industry cheats------
McKibben really smacked the corps saying that they are allowed to produce all this trash (CO2) and dispose of it for free (pumping it into the air). If there was a tax put on it would move things faster and would not bankrupt the fossil fuel industries.
Jim Hanson has a fee and dividend plan.
Big Oil Should Become Big Energy, But ....
Couple of years ago BP did a whole ad campaign - 'It's time to think outside the barrel ' but little has changed. The top 5 oil industry made $137 bllion in profit which is $375 million a day .
Time to move to Offense
We can keep playing defense up against all sorts of issues:
mountain top removal, tar sands, exporting of our fossil fuels
the indigenous are the leaders in this fight"
fighting against the fracking - movie "gasland
US of Extreme energy - fracking
spending $100 million a day looking for oil
there is a contamination of politics against truth and science
Bill said we have to change our approach, and went on to present the analogy of the little Dutch boy with finger in dike- all organizations need to pull together and use all our fingers to make a fist.
CO2 +$$ = planet on fire
One year ago Barack Obama said we will study it.
2012 warmest year, epic drought, melting of ice cap Hurrricane Sandy is what mother nature had her say.
The American Petroleum Institute recently said that Barack Obama has already told them the pipeline would be built. When a bipartisan group of 18 senators heard about he upcoming 350.org action they sent the WH a letter asking for the President to approve the Pipeline before the march. These same senators received $11 million over the course of their career from fossil fuel industry -they took the money and voted the fossil fuel company interest.
The oil industry has behaved recklessly, drilling permits are up
lost their respectability because they have lied and cheated.
He used example tobacco industry/individual health and compared it
to oil/planet's health.
He said our game plan on offense is push for divestment by taking the message to colleges and churches, that if it is wrong, it is wrong to profit from it .
Reverend Hip Hop Lennox Yearwood appeared live on the livestream to make a powerful appeal to historic black churches, colleges, black political caucus in Congress, and to the first black President BO to divest themselves.
Desmond Tutu appeared in a video and said that climate change is a moral issue gave the example again of the people who have done nothing to cause their suffering like Haiti.
Pension Fund Reality
Bill McKibben returned and spoke more on the issue of divestment, saying that it makes no sense to have a pension fund invested in oil if there will be no planet to retire on.
Science and morality point us in the right direction.
Starting Our Own Divestment Campaigns on DailyKos Or At Home
Bill said http://gofossilfree.org/ has the playbook of this, and urge you to visit the site it rocks! The plan is for, colleges, churches, pension funds to freeze investments and spending next five years working on green investments, using alternative energy and green your portfolio.
Several groups came together in Albuquerque to organize the Livestream Event, and they had to change the date along the way from Friday to Sunday but what this accomplished is to allow them to recruit for a divest movement meeting at UNM. The Livestream event in Albuquerque was put together by
the UNM Peace Studies Program, SOAP (Students Organizing Actions for Peace), the UNM Action Alliance, 350.org and several others.... Great job, amigos!
DIY Climate Change Action
Here are tour dates in case you want to get your peeps involved with setting up a Livestream event of your own!!Tour Dates
Burlington, VT 10/13
Portland, OR 11/8
San Francisco 11/10
Palo Alto 11/10
Los Angeles 11/11
Portland, ME 11/13
New York City 11/16
Salt Lake City 12/3
Don’t see your town on the map? You can still get involved by signing uphere.