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We spend a lot of time trying to right all the wrongs on this planet.  We look outside our own troubled, stressful, turbulent and demanding lives and worry about all the things that legitimately need worrying about.

Of course, we all know that there is one overriding problem that make all other problems seem quaint, even obsolete.  And we all know what that is, right?

And we're all doing something about it, right?  Right???!!!

There are people on the front line against climate change all over the planet.  They are pressuring government officials, releasing reports from international conferences, electing leaders who care, educating others and doing whatever small thing they can in their own back yards, all over the planet.

Some of these people are in rural red states like Kansas and Nebraska.

I'm taking an online course about Climate Change from the University of Melbourne.  It's free, very informative and above all extremely valuable to discuss the topic with members of the world community who get it.

My fellow students are from places like England and Ecuador and Canada and California. Imagine my surprise and delight to run across one from Kansas, who was posting about his frustration with his public officials' inaction on the problem.

I feel your pain, brother.

Our lives in rural Midwestern America are idyllic; we have free clean air, free clean water from the Ogalalla Aquifer, fertile soil, fresh, abundant, healthy and cheap food, low population density and low-priced energy (due, however and unfortunately, to public power from coal, and state-subsidized gasoline).  It all adds up to a high quality of life for a very low cost.  And because life here is so good, it's pretty easy to look the other way on climate change, as too many in our part of the world do.

But more and more in Nebraska are waking up.

Nebraska is the home of many insurance companies, and they understand about climate change.  It's full of farmers who understand that something's definitely wrong because the weather ain't what it used to be.

But the group I'm proudest to be part of are the Bold Nebraskans.  These are the passionately committed individuals who have been the front line against the Keystone XL tarsands pipeline for five years.  In just the last 10 days they have:

1.  Testified before an insolent and insulting US Energy and Commerce Committee hearing.
2.  Raised a solar and wind-powered barn in the path of the pipeline.
3.  Showed up en masse to support a landowners' lawsuit against the use of eminient domain for private gain.

Ever known a Nebraskan?  For the most part they are quiet, reserved, don't-rock-the-boat types.  This state habitually re-elects rabidly stupid conservatives for no other reason than just because they always have.  Nebraskans typically don't act out; it's just not in their DNA.

The fact that there are people from the predominantly head-in-the-sand red states of Kansas and Nebraska willing to learn about climate change to expand our knowledge and networks (without having to burn any fossil fuel driving to class!) is a very wonderful thing.  

The fact that Bold Nebraskans will stand up to big oil and keep the monstrosity that climate scientists have called "game over" at bay for 5 years is nothing less than phenomenal.

So if we red-staters can do this, then you all out there in more progressive parts of the world certainly can do a lot, too.  What are you doing on the one issue that matters most?  I'd like to hear about it in the comments.  

And I'd like to hear what else you'll do.  Because you can always do more.  Unless, of course, you've got something more important to worry about than keeping our planet habitable.

Originally posted to Nancy Meyer on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 08:20 AM PDT.

Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Thank you, Nancy, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wilderness voice, nomandates

    it's great to hear what you are doing.

    Thank you for your activism and perspective from a red state.

    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it is about learning to dance in the rain." ~ Vivanne Grenne Shop Kos Katalogue!

    by remembrance on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 09:21:57 AM PDT

  •  Holy cow, Nancy (3+ / 0-)

    This is inspiring!

    Out here in WA we'll need the same kind of passion if we're going to stop the construction of a coal terminal to send Powder River Basin coal to China. So they can burn it and send back all the mercury that was inside while hastening global warming.

    I have been a longtime supporter of our Commissioner of Public Lands, Peter Goldmark. I've been contacting him and letting him know this is a non-starter even though some communities want the (short term) jobs and revenue.

    If you're in WA help keep Goldmark in office but also hold him accountable. He's our guy but there's economic pressure on him to let this happen.

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 09:47:34 AM PDT

    •  You saw that there is another coal terminal (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      remembrance

      planned for Longmont, WA, right?

      ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS

      Notices
            Notice of Intent To Prepare a Joint Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Millennium Bulk Terminals-Longview Shipping Facility Project

      http://www.gpo.gov/...

      FR notice, August 14, 2013

      •  Public comments are being sought (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LakeSuperior

        In the doc you linked it says:

        The following public scoping meetings have been scheduled:

        Cowlitz Expo Center, 1900 7th Avenue, Longview, Washington 98632 on Tuesday, September 17, 2013, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

        Spokane Convention Center, 334 West Spokane Falls Boulevard, Spokane, Washington 99201 on Wednesday, September 25, 2013, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

        The Trac Center, 6600 Burden Boulevard, Pasco, Washington 99301 on Tuesday, October 1, 2013, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

        Clark County Fairgrounds, 17402 Northeast Delfel Road, Ridgefield, Washington 98642 on Wednesday, October 9, 2013, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

        Tacoma Convention Center, 1500 Broadway, Tacoma, Washington 98402 on Thursday, October 17, 2013, from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

        In addition, an ‘‘online scoping meeting’’ will be continuously hosted on the EIS Internet Web site at www.millenniumbulkeiswa.gov for the duration of the scoping period.

        I assume this is happening because it avoids all the hippies in Washington. The initial plan was for the terminal to be in Bellingham which is very liberal and a college town. The trains would have traveled through Seattle. Lots of resistance. This is a sneaky way to stay within the "red counties" in Washington along the whole route.

        There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

        by BeerNotWar on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 12:42:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I live in a red part of a blue state (4+ / 0-)

    and rather than alienating my neighbors with politics or preaching I discuss climate change from a more common ground perspective. Most of my red neighbors actually have smaller carbon footprints than the very blue Boulder where I work, so they have that going for them already.

    Much of the progress we need to make as a people also makes common sense to people of all political persuasions. Use and consume less. More fuel efficient machines and cars, using less to heat and light, re using rather than replacing. They grow using less herbicides and raise cattle using the grass that grows on the land without having to use artificial irrigation. Their houses are modest as is their lifestyle.

    Studies have shown that environmentalism as an issue has experienced more polarization between Rs and Ds than any other single issue over the past twenty years, and it doesn't have to be this way.

    The social safety net still outpolls environmental issues as a R / D divide, but that has always been so to some extent. We need to close the unneeded divide on environmentalism most peoples values on the issue are the same. Less rhetoric and preaching, more common ground and consensus.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 09:48:59 AM PDT

    •  The Guardian figured out how to make the IPCC's (0+ / 0-)

      upcoming report personal.  This is helpful for people who cannot be reached through preachy essays or wordy reporting, but can through online interactive graphics that make it all about them.
      http://www.theguardian.com/...

      For those who are willing to read summaries, Mother Jones did a good job here:
      http://www.motherjones.com/...

      Both of these links will be really useful if forwarded far and wide.  Use email, twitter, FB or any other social media you have.  If you are a teacher, show in class.  If you are a club leader or a church group attendee, bring your laptop and display these for discussion.

  •  It will have to be by state groups (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    nomandates

    like Bold Nebraskans. The national big green groups don't put in much effort at organizing in red states and rural areas and usually mess it up when they try. After years of being a Sierra Club leader, I'm working exclusively with state and local groups. They can be much more effective even though they get less funding.

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