Category Archives: Commentary

Commentary written by OCA & others

An Expose of the Environmental Movement

It is empowering to see how many people in Washington state are taking time in this moment to stand up for racial justice. Many of you have reached out to ask how the environmental community can show up right now and what our role is in the fight against institutional racism. At WCV, we believe showing up requires accountability to ourselves and each other. And that starts with knowing the history of the environmental movement, and how it often ignored and was outright harmful to Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities.

The largest environmental organizations in the US, including WCV, have historically been, and largely continue to be, led and funded by white environmentalists. White-led organizations advocated for issues in white communities, where environmental benefits were felt by and centered on them. The environmental movement has and often continues to perpetuate ideas of white dominant culture and institutional racism, leading to a mainstream movement that has sought to preserve the natural world exclusively with white communities in mind. But that does not need to be our future. To be clear, Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities have always cared about and celebrated our environment. But these same communities also bear the largest burden of toxic pollution and environmental degradation.

Census data and science tell us that, more than income or geography, race is still the number one indicator of whether a person will live near contaminated air, water, and soil. Washington is no stranger to these disparities. People living in South Seattle’s much more racially diverse neighborhoods of South Park, Georgetown, and Beacon Hill have a life expectancy that is eight years less than their whiter and wealthier neighbors in North Seattle. That is significantly linked to these neighborhoods’ proximity to large industrial polluters and highways that contaminate the air and water [1].

In the lower Yakima Valley, farm workers and local communities have been exposed to inordinately high risks from pesticides and chemical groundwater contamination [2]. This area, home to Washington’s largest Latino population, has experienced grave health impacts from overexposure to chemicals and has even seen anomalies like “blue baby syndrome” [3] that are linked to nitrates in drinking water.

Because Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities have been excluded or marginalized from the conversation and by failing to help dismantle the racist systems around us, today’s historically and currently white-led organizations will continue upholding these systems, perpetuating environmental injustices. We can, and must, do better.

The exploitative mindset that underlies white supremacy and continues to harm Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, is the same one driving depletion for profit, reckless drilling for fossil fuels, and irresponsible pollution of our waters. White supremacy champions dominion over nature, positions people as apart from the ecosystems we live in, divides us into groups with competing priorities, and leads to the disproportionate harm and death of Black, Brown, and Indigenous people and people of color.

As we work to address our biggest environmental crises, our solutions must confront white supremacy and institutional racism. This means the policies we advocate must:

  • Work toward dismantling structural inequities,
  • Raise and act in solidarity with partners that represent communities of color in policy and decision-making,
  • And work with those communities most impacted to find solutions that provide an alternative to an economy built on extractive and unsustainable activities.

Without these principles, we cannot achieve our mission of protecting, restoring, and sustaining Washington’s environment for all. We are so proud to have you with us in this work. And we will continue to grow together to be better partners and allies in the fight for racial justice.

Over the last week our staff found these stories helpful to understand the intersections of race and the environment. We hope you’ll read these pieces with us:

Thank you for all you do,

Washington Conservation Voters

Sources
[1] KOMO “Study: Duwamish residents have short life expectancy”
[2] 
Farmworker Justice “Exposed and Ignored: How pesticides are endangering our nation’s farmworkers”
[3] 
Yakima Herald “Crusade for clean water in the Lower Valley”

A Novel Approach to Climate Action at the State Level

By Cindy Jayne

An effort is afoot to bring an ancient Athenian democratic process to Washington State – a Citizen’s Assembly, where a representative group of randomly chosen Washington State residents would come together to make recommendations on how the state could address climate change.

Citizen Assemblies have been happening all across the world to address a variety of issues, and they have been successful in making progress on challenging issues such as climate change. For example, they were used by our British Columbia neighbors to craft a new electoral process.

In Washington State, a “Climate Assembly” would be an independently run, non-partisan direct democracy process that would bring together roughly 100 residents of Washington, selected by lottery, who demographically mirror the state in age, race, education, and other demographic indicators. Over the course of several weekends, the Assembly members would come together online to develop connections, learn from science and policy experts, deliberate on paths forward, and most importantly recommend policies to lawmakers. The recommendations would be provided to our State Legislators to inform climate law and policy. 

Because of the inclusive nature of Citizen’s Assemblies, the participants would reflect all Washington residents as well as elevate the voices of under-heard constituents, bringing together the diversity of viewpoints on climate in the state.

A group of volunteers from Climate Assembly Washington have begun talking with Washington State legislators about this, and support is building. State Representatives Jake Fey (D-27), Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34), Zack Hudgins (D-11), Steve Kirby (D-29), and Cindy Ryu Nam (D-32) have called for a Citizen’s Assembly on Climate to be held online over the summer in Washington State.

This could be the first Climate Assembly to be held in the USA (discussions are also under way in New York State). Similar Assemblies are concluding online now in France and the UK, and reflect a long history of deliberative democracy methods used to raise the level of discourse on divisive and challenging issues. The Legislators are eager for any method that supplements their work and raises the voices of under heard constituents. Representative Steve Kirby says, “The Washington Climate Assembly is a great idea for bringing a diverse group of people safely together, to learn, collaborate, and make a difference for all of us in the midst of a crisis. I look forward to seeing their recommendations.”

Want to learn more? Go to https://www.climateassembly.us to learn more about Citizen’s Assemblies on Climate, and consider sharing your views on this deliberative democracy method with your legislators.

Cindy Jayne leads the Local 20/20 Climate Preparedness Action Group and is a member of the Local 20/20 Steering Council.

IS CARBON TAX A “SILVER BULLET”? YES!

By Climate Reality leader William Tucker – 5/5/2020

Maybe not gold, but definitely silver!

We frequently hear those climate activists who are skeptical of carbon fee and dividend legislation (see, e.g., The Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763) dismiss it as not a “silver bullet.”  What is meant by this seemingly pejorative comment I’m not entirely sure, but clearly carbon fee is a necessary and urgent measure in reducing carbon emissions quickly.  It may not be the only legislative initiative we undertake, but what is not sufficiently understood and appreciated among climate activists is that carbon fee has been shown by economists to be the single most effective step we can take to dramatically lower emissions.  It may not be a “gold” bullet, capable of achieving 100% of the necessary reductions (net zero by 2050 or sooner), but it surely qualifies as a “silver” one, getting us most of the way there all by itself.  No other legislative proposal comes close.

Continue reading

The “new approach” for our leaders

Ed and others,

Hope you are all having a nice day!

The “new approach” is for our leaders, elected and agencies, to realize that immediate action is required to save salmon, Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW), and Bonneville Power Authority (BPA).  Collaboration needs to be about rounding up some of these leaders and to agree and how to get these two agencies and their overseers in DC to agree to immediate breaching.  More meeting about anything else is the “old approach” and should be avoided.  If they don’t understand the peril these creatures, fisherman and ratepayers are in, then help me arrange a briefing for them. I can also show them how the option of immediate breaching is real.

The Columbia River Systems Operations (CRSO) was a planned train wreck and is so fatally flawed as to render it useless accept as cannon fodder in the next round of legal battles between the NGOs and Feds.  Which is just fine with them.  Our leaders need to stand up to this protracted discussion, studies, litigation, etc. and take decisive and immediate action on breaching. That would be “new”.  Here is the link to a document submitted to the CSRO process that lays out the 14 Fatal Flaws in the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS).  https://damsense.org/fourteen-fatal-flaws/

Also, the COVID 19 crisis will most likely wreck much of the salmon and orca restoration initiatives, whereas breaching does not cost the state a dime, saves 8 million juvenile smolts, goes a long way to restoring fisheries and those jobs, and could create 2-3 thousand jobs in eastern Washington.  That is what our leaders ought to be talking about, not more collaboration about anything but immediate breaching and how to expedite the mitigation that keeps virtually everyone whole and that have already been identified.   Along those lines I have attached a letter we recently sent to Governor Inslee making these points.

I applaud Ron Allen for raising this issue with Congressman Kilmer, and he just may be the person in the Pacific Northwest who has the business acumen and courage do to what is right before it is too late.

Thanks for sharing this.

Respectfully,

Jim Waddell Civil Engineer, PE USACE Retired and Clallam County PUD Commissioner.
These views are my own and do not represent a position by the CC PUD


Jubilee — A way forward with deep, ancient roots


It’s the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we’re in the midst of a global pandemic, the global price of oil hit minus zero and headlines are declaring the end of the economy as we know it.  And, sorry, but I don’t want to go back to normal. I want to go forward, toward a better future for us humans, Earth and all the creatures that call this planet home. I want to continue to enjoy clearer skies, cleaner water, the quiet. But how, you may well ask? 

Let’s adopt a successful practice that dates back to 1729 BC and declare a Jubilee Year. After 49 successful years, the 50th became the Jubilee Year, when complete freedom from all debt and servitude was proclaimed throughout the land.  The ancient Babylonian King Hammurabi forgave all citizens debts owed to the government, high ranking officials and dignitaries. Boom. Gone. Not to be restarted for an entire year. 

The idea that debt can grow faster than the ability to repay, until it unbalances a society, was well understood thousands of years ago. Ancient rulers weren’t motivated by charity; they were being pragmatic — trying to make sure that citizens could meet their own needs and contribute to public projects, rather than just laboring to pay creditors.  

What’s more, the jubilee year worked, according to economist and historian Michael Hudson.  “Societies that canceled the debts enjoyed stable growth for thousands of years.’’

Continue reading

For a healthy planet, we need a healthy body politic

Crises have a way of laying bare some home truths.

Letter from OCA chair Ed Chadd: https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/letters/letter-healthy-body-politic/

Noam Chomsky, Democracy Now 4/10/20

Amy Goodman interviews Noam Chomsky

“[Climate change] is a far more serious threat than the coronavirus, [which] is bad and serious, but we’ll recover somehow. We’re not going to recover from the melting of the polar ice sheets. . . .  Just recently, there was a very interesting leak, a memo from JPMorgan Chase, America’s biggest bank, which warned that, in their words, ‘the survival of humanity’ is at risk if we continue on our present course, which included the funding of fossil fuel industries by the bank itself.”

Subaru: Stop Helping the Trump Administration Make Cars Less Efficient

Updated with NEW Letters

The Union of Concerned Scientists (Winter 2020) reports that Subaru is in a group of automakers trying to fight California’s right to keep a higher emission/efficiency standard while the Trump administration is rolling back the national standards.

OCA member Janis Burger is a Subaru owner and she’s written a letter to Ms. Anton, Manager of Corporate Communications in the U.S. (danton@subaru.com). Janis would like to share that letter with other members and Subaru owners alike.

Why California gets to write its own auto emissions standards:
5 questions answered — The Conversation

Why Trump Wants to Revoke California’s Clean-Air Waiver — The Atlantic

Search: California’s clean-air waiver

Dear Ms. Anton,

I’m hoping you can pass these concerns on to the relevant corporate decision makers.

I’ve been a Subaru owner for most of my adult life, as are many of my friends here in outdoorsy Washington state. We are also surrounded by mountains with declining snowpack and retreating glaciers. We are seeing worrisome declines in downstream water supplies, increasing forest fires and days with health-compromising smoke, and more. And ocean acidification is exacerbated on our coast and impacting tidepool species, even in Olympic National Park and Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary. They can be protected somewhat by their park and sanctuary status, but not from inaction by us humans regarding climate change.

It’s a crime that the newest Subaru’s and even the hybrid Cross-trek barely get better mileage than my old 1992 Legacy got. The Obama administration’s efforts to increase vehicle efficiency and emissions standards were a strong move to cutting global emissions. Now the current administration is ignoring science and trying to roll those back and is even challenging California’s right to keep the higher standards. So it’s shocking that Subaru is part of the disingenuously named Coalition for Sustainable Automotive Regulation that is fighting California’s right in the absence of stronger federal standards. As the Union for Concerned Scientists has reported, Subaru at least has removed the hypocritical posting on its website about AWD vehicles keeping us safe in a changing environment, all the while fighting efficiency standards that would help fight that change.

I will be taking a look at Honda’s line of SUVs and hybrids now since they, BMW, Ford and VW are siding with California.

I hope Subaru’s management will be a better corporate citizen of this planet, join the automakers above to embrace the original Obama guidelines (or even strive to exceed the more ambitious standards since we’re seeing the climate warming faster than even experts predicted).

I’ll be sharing this email with all my Subaru owning friends and members of our local climate action group so we can get the word out.

If you have any updates, I’d love to hear from you.

Sincerely,
Janis Burger

Continue reading this exchange with Subaru

COVID-19, Capitalism, and Climate Disruption

How will the coronavirus change perceptions
of climate change

By Krestine Reed

I’ve become interested in how COVID-19 sequestration (a.k.a. social distancing and shelter-in-place) may effect GHG and other factors contributing to climate change. There is much being written that acknowledges just how little time is required to make a significant visible and measurable change. We are currently emerged in a real-time case study that shows how existing energy and economic systems adapt to abrupt changes. I’m just hoping that those in the power seats are paying attention. Here is an article of interest that was in Scientific American, March 12, 2020.   

“History suggests that global disasters, particularly those with major effects on the economy, tend to drive a temporary decline in carbon emissions. The 2008 recession, for instance, was accompanied by a temporary dip in global carbon emissions.  On a local scale, the climate impact of an epidemic is more complex—it’s likely to hinge on a wide variety of changes in the way people carry out their daily lives, from how often they leave their homes to how they travel around their cities to how they do their shopping.”  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/how-the-coronavirus-pandemic-is-affecting-co2-emissions/.

I recently noticed that capitalism never misses a profit making opportunity. In the security of our “social distancing” confines comes the offer to purchase a new automobile and have it delivered to your driveway. And if your personal income stream is interrupted by COVID-19, you are offered extended terms in which to begin repayment. Now that’s ingenious marketing in a fear-based downturned economy. Only in America does consumerism and materialism have the fervor of religion. I’m a little disappointed though, so far I’ve only seen automobile manufacturers of combustion engines offering this deal. At my new house, I got local channels included in the Wave package, so I watched some TV with all those ads. Thank goodness I can get the TV channels option removed.

OCA announces climate platform for 2020

It’s time for all good folks to come to the aid of their land, their water, their air, and all beings that call this rock home. At our Ground Hog Day 2020 meeting, OCA announced that we will not abide any more years of climate inaction and adopted this set of principles as our 2020 Climate Platform, free to all political and community leaders who care to use it.

A Thanksgiving Call for Climate Action

By Mark Dunlea, Green Education and Legal Fund

Accelerating climate change will likely cause the collapse of civilization. Sooner rather than later.

Civilization is a complex web of social and economic interactions that takes centuries to reach its peak, but once it begins to unravel, collapse often occurs swiftly. Prior collapses of human societies have primarily been due to environmental factors. In most cases, solutions existed, but they threatened the power and wealth of the ruling elite. The elite chose the status quo.

Scientists increasingly raise the possibility of the extinction of the human species. We are already in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of species, with half or more of the species expected to die off. Insects and pollinators are rapidly disappearing. Humans are dependent on other species for many things critical to human survival, such as food and oxygen. (Plankton, which produce half of the world’s oxygen, are rapidly approaching extinction.)

Continue reading

DNR: Adopt a forest carbon policy

By consensus at our Oct. 6 meeting, OCA has sent the following letter to the State Board of Natural Resources and Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gShz1QaPB3YwDD97ElLv5L9Yk48SeQa4/view?usp=sharing

Excerpt:

The Washington State Public Lands Commissioner has a legal obligation to investigate and consider all reasonable, foreseeable mitigation and adaptation measures related to climate change. The DNR has completed an assessment of climate-change-related risks and has acknowledged significant threats to forest, agricultural and aquatic resources, and is working on climate resilience strategies; however, DNR needs a clear directive from BNR to focus strongly on the challenges posed by the climate crisis.

We believe that if a market were created to reimburse the State and Local Taxing Districts for forest carbon sequestration at the Social Cost of Carbon and State-managed forests were managed for optimal sequestration over the next century, they would produce far more income and employment for timber communities and their taxing districts than the income and employment currently generated by timber harvests. That income would grow year after year and provide a stable financial anchor for our timber communities. Numerous additional benefits would flow from such management, including cleaner water, steadier stream flows, healthier populations of fish and wildlife, more recreational benefits, reduced fire danger, etc.

 

Trump an “embarrassment”

“How dare you?”

Right here, right now is where we draw the line, The world is waking, and change is coming whether you like it or not.

Greta Thunberg, speaking before the United Nations, 9/23/2019

The terrible truth, in one graph

2050 is a generation too late. That would be unforgivable, and very likely utterly catastrophic.

Extinction Rebellion: “The Emergency”

If you let this graph sink in, you’ll understand why so many are turning out in the streets to demand a halt to business as usual and the most massive turnaround of the world’s economy we’ve ever seen. If you need more background, go here.

September 20th

Leviathans in the Harbor

More and bigger cruise ships are crowding coastal destinations. When is enough, enough? Who gets to decide?

by Brian Payton , August 27, 2019, Hakai Magazine 
‘Knoll Lowney, the lawyer representing the three plaintiffs who claimed they were victims of Carnival’s environmental violations, said, “Time and time again, Carnival has shown its contempt of environmental laws and the rule of law.”’

DNC votes down a Climate Debate

Today the DNC voted down holding a climate debate. Evan Weber of the Sunrise Movement was in the room and live tweeted the conversation. The link below is that thread.

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1165334843221168128.html

We need a green new deal

 

At our general meeting of 8/4/2019, OCA members in attendance adopted by consensus this statement in support of the concept of a green new deal. We have little time to waste and urge immediate action at all levels, but most particularly at the federal level, which will ultimately be necessary if we’re to avoid unimaginable climate chaos.

OCA statement of support for a green new deal

El Paso Terrorism Suspect’s Alleged Manifesto Highlights Eco-Fascism’s Revival

By Alexander C. Kaufman in HuffPost 

‘The racist rant inveighs against environmental destruction and calls for mass killings to make the American “way of life” more “sustainable.” It’s not unique.’

Wait, 40 percent of white evangelicals support the Green New Deal?

in Grist

‘In the 2016 presidential election, 81 percent of white evangelical Christians votedto elect President Trump. But this core base of the Republican Party, despite Fox News’ efforts, is more receptive to large-scale action to combat climate change than you might expect.’

Big Cruise Ships in the Salish Sea

This topic keeps coming up from people in every nook of the Salish Sea. Should we be talking about banning these ships from our waters?

Twitter thread on cruise ships

Democratic primary voters overwhelmingly prefer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal to Joe Biden’s climate plan

Democratic primary voters overwhelmingly prefer Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal to Joe Biden’s climate plan

Eliza Relman & Walt Hickey

‘Democratic primary voters much prefer the more ambitious plans to fight climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee over former Vice President Joe Biden‘s relatively less aggressive proposal, according to new INSIDER polling.’

‘And a Child Shall Lead Them,’ or: How This Boomer Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Green New Deal

‘And a Child Shall Lead Them,’ or: How This Boomer Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Green New Deal

Ross Macfarlane

‘I am talking to my peeps: those of us who get the science, care deeply about the environment and the need for climate action, and are filled with both disgust and determination at our current course as a nation. But many of us have well-earned scars and deep concerns that make us reluctant to join a children’s crusade that might lead us off a cliff. I get it; I share your fears. This piece articulates some reasons that I believe following these young leaders and embracing the Green New Deal might be our best and perhaps only hope to mobilize action at the pace and scale needed to avert the worst impacts of the gathering climate crisis.’

View at Medium.com

I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.

I work in the environmental movement. I don’t care if you recycle.

Stop obsessing over your environmental “sins.” Fight the oil and gas industry instead.

‘When people come to me and confess their green sins, as if I were some sort of eco-nun, I want to tell them they are carrying the guilt of the oil and gas industry’s crimes. That the weight of our sickly planet is too much for any one person to shoulder. And that that blame paves the road to apathy, which can really seal our doom.’

DNC silences climate debate

DNC tells Inslee it won’t host climate debate

DNC won’t host a climate debate, and if another org holds one any candidate who participates can’t be in DNC debates.

I can only assume they haven’t read this:

New Report Suggests ‘High Likelihood of Human Civilization Coming to an End’ Starting in 2050

Leah Stokes on Biden’s Climate plan

Leah Stokes is a professor of PoliSci Prof at UCSB wrote this assessment of Biden’s Climate plan. 

Where is your 2020 candidate on Climate?

Where is your 2020 candidate on climate? Greenpeace has analyzed public record, actions, and responses to their climate survey and used the results to grade the candidates.

Late Night Cram: Green New Deal (ft. Rhiana Gunn-Wright)

Late Night Cram: Green New Deal (ft. Rhiana Gunn-Wright)

39 minute podcast about the Green New Deal talking to Rhiana Gunn-Wright who was a policy lead in developing the deal.

“I think it’s also about being able to bring these issues to the places where people are actually encountering them in the ways they actually impact their life.”- Gunn-Wright

Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment

Why the Guardian is changing the language it uses about the environment

From now, house style guide recommends terms such as ‘climate crisis’ and ‘global heating’

Jay Inslee is writing the climate plan the next president should adopt

Jay Inslee is writing the climate plan the next president should adopt

More than a campaign document, it’s an instruction manual.

Principles in Climate Justice

By Mike Mallory, Sierra Club Sno-Isle Group and Climate Reality Snohomish County Chapter

From The Sierra Club, Washington State Chapter Journal – “The Crest” Volume 38, Issue 1

After Mike Mallory and his wife Marilyn retired, they knew they wanted to spend some of their time giving back to the world and they wanted to do it together. They found that climate activism was high on both their lists, in large part because of concern for the future of their grandchildren. They were attracted to the intensive Climate Reality training from top climate scientists, policy makers and health care workers. This training emphasized the need to inform people about the causes and consequences of climate change. The following is based on one of their presentations to spread the word.

When we hear stories about the frontline of environmental degradation, our sense of fairness is awoken and we are often moved to action. But when we move to action it is important to keep Environmental Justice in mind, so that we do not reinforce the pre-existing threads of oppression and injustice already woven into the system.

“Justice” is generally about balancing rights and responsibilities, benefits and burdens. Justice, in its applications to the Environment, can be divided into three categories.

Continue reading

Tokitae in Miami Seaquarium

By Emi Okikawa, Digital Communications Fellow

From The Sierra Club, Washington State Chapter Journal – “The Crest” Volume 38, Issue 1

The Story of Tokitae

Three thousand miles away from Seattle,
a lone Southern Resident orca swims in a tank. To visitors at Miami Seaquarium
her name is “Lolita,” but to the Lummi Nation she is Tokitae. It’s a Chinook
name, given to her the day she was kidnapped from our waters.

At 51 years old, Tokitae has spent the majority of her life–47 years– in
captivity, confined to a tiny swimming pool with no other orca for company. She
is the age of an elder matriarch and should be the mother of her own family. But
instead, she is all alone.

Tokitae was taken from her family in the infamous Penn Cove capture of 1970.
In the brutal attack, a group of men used boats, planes, and explosives to
corral frightened and panicked orca families into nets to separate them, using
long sticks to push mothers away from their calves. In the end, the remaining
orca could only watch as their stolen babies and relatives were helicoptered
away to be distributed to various marine parks around the country. According to
the Lummi, the orca have since avoided Penn Cove because it’s still the site of
such painful memories.

Continue reading

Deep decarbonization: How? Who?

LEGAL PATHWAYS TO DEEP DECARBONIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES: SUMMARY & KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

Deep decarbonization pathways summary

This is a summary of a larger report by the Environmental Law Institute, posing the question of what laws & policies could lead to an 80% reduction (or more) of net greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050. There are short chapters on every sector of GHG emissions and sequestration.

The Three Causes of the World’s Four Big Problems

Deep Transformation, or What London’s Climate Change Protests Teach Us About the Future

umair haqueApr 22 – from Medium.com

It was a perfect spring day. I was trying to get home to Camden Lock from Oxford Circus, after meeting a few friends for coffee downtown. A siren’s blare cut through the noisy crowds. Soon enough, police had shut down Regent Street — and massed protesters, cheering, shouting, rebelling, thronged London’s busiest intersection, shutting it down.

I don’t know if you’ve heard elsewhere, but London’s seen protests day after day now — of a new kind. Organized by a group called Extinction Rebellion, the subject of these protests isn’t authoritarianism, fascism, extremism, Wall Street — it’s climate change.

Extinction Rebellion is, by my reckoning, the world’s first significant series of global protests about climate change. The first one to shut down a major city, to galvanize a people, to cut through the noise of capitalist mass media — and do what protests should do: make some noise.

Keep reading!

THIS LAND IS NOT YOUR LAND. OR MINE.

this-land-is-not

FIRST PERSON

THIS LAND IS NOT YOUR LAND. OR MINE.
By Mary Annaïse Heglar
“The iconic folk song has become an anthem for the predominantly white environmental movement. But can a colonized nation built on the backs of slaves ever really make that claim?”

Glaciers and Arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it’s too late – Bill McKibben

Bill McKibben — Wed 10 Apr 2019 06.00 EDT

No one should be annoyed when schoolkids start leaving class en masse or surprised that Green New Deal advocates call for dramatic overhaul of American society. We should be grateful. @billmckibben

‘The respectable have punted; so now it’s up to the scruffy, the young, the marginal, the angry to do the necessary work.’ Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images

Forget “early warning signs” and “canaries in coalmines” – we’re now well into the middle of the climate change era, with its epic reshaping of our home planet. Monday’s news, from two separate studies, made it clear that the frozen portions of the Earth are now in violent and dramatic flux. Continue reading

Climate and America’s endangered rivers

Endangered Rivers

“Falter”: In New Book, Bill McKibben Asks If the Human Game Has Begun to Play Itself Out

All three parts of the interview can be accessed from this page link.

Thousands are taking to the streets in London today to demand radical action to combat the climate crisis. Protesters with the group Extinction Rebellion have set up encampments and roadblocks across Central London and say they’ll stay in the streets for at least a week. It’s just the beginning of a series of global actions that will unfold in the coming days, as activists around the world raise the alarm about government inaction in the face of the growing climate catastrophe. The London protests come just days after schoolchildren around the globe left school again on Friday for the weekly “strike for climate” and as the push for the Green New Deal continues to build momentum in the United States. The deal—backed by Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey—seeks to transform the U.S. economy through funding renewable energy while ending U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. We speak with climate activist and journalist Bill McKibben, who has been on the front lines of the fight to save the planet for decades. Thirty years ago, he wrote “The End of Nature,” the first book about climate change for a general audience. He’s just published a new book titled “Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?”

Locals speak out about orcas & LSRDs

“Injustice to the natural world”

Kilmer is backwards on science vs. politics & the LSRDs

Snake River dam breaching would be a simple affair

“Look to our souls” for the courage to do what’s right

How Google, Microsoft, and Bit Tech are Automating the Climate Crisis

Author: Brian Merchant

Source: Gizmodo

‘These deals, many of which were made just last year, at what may be the height of public awareness of the threats posed by climate change, are explicitly aimed at streamlining, improving, and rendering oil and gas extraction operations more profitable.’

Full Article: How Google, Microsoft, and Bit Tech are Automating the Climate Crisis

 

Breach the LSRDs now. Not next year. Now.

At the direction of our membership at our February 3 meeting, OCA sent letters to Governor Inslee, our District 24 State Representatives, and Rep. Derek Kilmer about both the necessity and feasibility of breaching the lower 4 Snake River Dams this year. Nothing would prevent this from happening if we recognized the true dire straits our Southern Resident Orcas are in, and none of the recommendations of the Governor’s Orca Task Force would have as immediate and beneficial an impact as this one thing. Here’s the letter we sent to Gov. Inslee:  OCA to Inslee 2-15-19

And here’s a letter being hand-delivered by our friends at the North Olympic Orca Pod to Rep. Derek Kilmer on Feb. 27:  NOOP to Kilmer 2-27-19

 

“What matters is am I doing the right thing?”

“It’s so easy to look at the big picture and get completely disheartened. … What we need to remember is what is my own personal moral obligation. When I wake up each day thinking about what I might do from that perspective … when I come at it from a deep sense of moral obligation, it really doesn’t matter what the results are. What matters is am I doing the right thing, and am I doing all I can right now at this time of crisis?

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/2/12/the_end_of_ice_dahr_jamail

That’s Dahr Jamail, author of The End of Ice, discussing climate change with Amy Goodman this week on Democracy Now.

Fantastic Thread On a Green New Deal

Rhiana Gunn-Wright addresses the question of whether the GND is simply a “Progressive laundry list”.

Continue reading

Green New Deal reality check

From: Post Carbon Institute <newsletter@postcarbon.org>

COULD A GREEN DEAL SAVE CIVILIZATION?by Richard Heinberg
Is there a set of policies that could actually avert climate catastrophe while saving civilization? Yes, at least in principle. 
READ MORE 

Voice from time immemorial

This “letter from an orca” was published in today’s Seattle Times, with a thought-provoking twist at the end:

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/orcas-and-a-way-of-life/

 

 

Dr. Guenther Twitter Thread

On talking about climate change

Continue reading

Greta Thunberg in Davos

and this

Climate action now must focus on the global rich and their corporations

Conservation International Presents

Nature is Speaking

Featuring short films personifying Nature, narrated by folks we know well.

Greta Thunberg’s speech

You should watch Greta Thunberg’s speech to the UN plenary session at COP24 if you haven’t seen it yet. Or if you have, watch it again. It is that powerful.

 

Shell Oil Executive Boasts that His Company Influenced the Paris Agreement.

Kate Aronoff with one of the most important pieces you will read this year.

https://theintercept.com/2018/12/08/shell-oil-executive-boasts-that-his-company-influenced-the-paris-agreement/

National Climate Assessment

This past Friday government released the 4th National Climate Assessment, clearly they were hoping people would be too busy with post Thanksgiving madness to notice. It is a stark report of how climate change is already impacting life in the US and how it will continue to get worse, and much much more expensive, if we don’t implement bold solutions. Included was a chapter by chapter breakdown of how each region of the country will be impacted. Below is a synopsis of the chapter on the Northwest tweeted by Vlad Guttman-Britten who is the Washington Director of Climate Solutions.

OCA members have their say

Now that most of the dust has cleared on the 2018 election, OCA members should be acknowledged for having their say about climate in the public sphere. In these fractured times, there’s a need for citizens to state plain truths out loud, and OCA members are to be congratulated for stepping up to the democratic (small-d) plate.

Yes on I-1631:

Cindy Jayne in the Port Townsend Leader

Diane Lombardo in the Peninsula Daily News

Robert Sextro in the Peninsula Daily News

Dan Burdick in the Peninsula Daily News

Bob Vreeland in the Peninsula Daily News

Pat Milliren in the Peninsula Daily News

Judy d’Amore in the Peninsula Daily News

Melinda Gelder in the Peninsula Daily News

Clallam County Commissioner:

Jerry Estberg vs. Bill Peach on climate

Clallam County Public Utility District:

Paul Hansen for Jim Waddell

Richard deBusman for Jim Waddell

Carrol Hull for Jim Waddell

Brian Grad on embracing the future

One more chance for WA’s “Green Wave”

…with inaction at the federal level, maybe a single state paving the way is our best hope for catalyzing broader action. Someone needs to lead. With lessons learned from this most recent failure, and more Democratic seats picked up in the state legislature — offering a firmer legislative route to passing a carbon tax — Inslee may yet be proved right in casting that leader as the state of Washington.

Column by Catherine Rampell, who covers the intersection between politics and economics for the Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-evergreen-state-just-rejected-the-green-wave-will-it-ever-wash-ashore/2018/11/12/9f0dd9fc-e6bf-11e8-bbdb-72fdbf9d4fed_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.7862f741204c

Just an environmental issue? Not!

Where will we find the political will to do what we know needs to be done in the time we have? Here’s an essay in the Sequim Gazette by OCA board member Ann Soule, who also serves as Resource Manager for the City of Sequim:

In our small corner of the globe, the biggest threats are drought, wildfire, and severe storms. . . . Like all wicked problems, solutions to climate change won’t be pretty, fun, or quick. But it will be much easier if it is recognized as a “quality of life” and a “community health” issue, and not strictly an “environmental” issue.

http://www.sequimgazette.com/opinion/water-matters-climate-meltdown/

Shared sacrifices of the past show way forward on climate

Remembrance Day

Shared sacrifices of the past show way forward on climate

Remember the extraordinary resolve our society showed the last time it faced an existential threat

 

1631 opponents: Make good on your word

“Opponents argued a better proposal was needed. They must now stand by their word in calling for a better proposal.”

Note from the chart below that Jefferson and Clallam Counties generated some of the highest percentages of Yes votes on 1631! Kudos to all who helped spread the word about the need for substantive, immediate climate action.

From CarbonWA: Initiative 1631 Falls Short

We applaud the immense effort made by 1631 campaign volunteers and staff. However, the initiative has fallen short of passing. Here is our statement on the result:

There is mounting evidence that a growing majority of Americans are concerned about climate change and support climate action. While Initiative 1631 failed to attract majority support, that does not change the fact that Yale University’s extensive research shows 70 percent of Washington voters believe global warming is happening and would support regulations on carbon emissions. Voters are demanding a solution, even if they didn’t accept this one. I-1631 deserves praise for attracting a broad coalition of support, including from Carbon Washington. Yet the policy failed to attract bipartisan support and contained elements that caused concern, as we highlighted in our analysis of the proposal. Opponents argued a better proposal was needed. They must now stand by their word in calling for a better proposal.

Carbon Washington will continue to advocate for solutions that bridge our deep partisan divides, not enlarge them, and that are effective, equitable and economically sound. But, we cannot do this work alone. We urge everyone, Republicans and Democrats, energy companies and community activists, opponents and proponents of 1631, to join us in the spirit of compromise to find solutions that fulfill our duty to protect our common home. Read our full statement here

We’ll continue to analyze the results and look for insights. However, one supporter created this chart comparing I-732 to the first round of results from I-1631.

1631 vote % by county

The Future of Climate Action

The climate movement needs solutions that can bring people together across regional, political, and economic divides. Strategies that hinge on ‘overwhelming’ the other side cannot be counted on to succeed. At CarbonWA, we will continue to advocate for a price on carbon because it is the most efficient tool we have to reduce carbon emissions. A campaign outcome doesn’t change that reality. We will invite the traditional opponents of climate action to join the discussion to shape the path forward. We will pursue other climate policies in the upcoming legislative session as well. Our work on land-use climate solutions, like carbon sequestration and biochar, will continue. We support efforts for a low carbon fuel standard regionally and in the legislature. Some of our partners are pushing for 100% clean energy, and we will look for cost-effective ways we can decarbonize our electricity system toward that goal. Stay tuned and expect to hear about opportunities to support our ambitious legislative campaigns.

If you want to be a part of this work, please let us know. We need talented, engaged volunteers to join our legislative committee, communications team, and fundraising committee.

Like what you’re reading? Help us continue to represent your views and give you the straight scoop on what’s happening. Your donation will multiply our effectiveness.

-The CarbonWA Team

Their future is in our hands

Please pay attention…please get involved in this most important decision-time for this nation…please get everyone you know to do the same.
A plea from our kids:
And a plea from our brothers and sisters under the sea:

R.I.P. Oil, Coal and Gas

The Midterms Have the Power to Usher in an Era of Climate Action

Trump and the fossil fuel lobby can stall for time. But change is coming faster than you think. ALEX STEFFEN

Who is the “we” in “We are causing climate change”?

(Hint: If you’re reading this, probably not you!)

 

First American PAC promotes I-1631

First ad features Quinault Tribe executive director

The first commercial produced by the First American Project PAC, a coalition of Washington’s Tribes and allies, stands in support of I-1631. This unedited, long-form commercial features President Fawn Sharp of the Quinault Tribe. Multiple other leaders will be featured in the next two weeks in ads.

Continue reading

White House response to IPCC climate report: “Lalalalala”

“This disaster is going to be as bad—as very, very bad—as we make it.”

From Elizabeth Kolbert at the New Yorker:

What Is Donald Trump’s Response to the U.N.’s Dire Climate Report?

The U.N.’s scientific advisory board sounds a piercing alarm on climate change, but the President doesn’t seem to hear it.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/22/what-is-donald-trumps-response-to-the-uns-dire-climate-report

More New Yorker coverage of the IPCC report:

https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-dire-warnings-of-the-united-nations-latest-climate-change-report

Clallam PUD’s opposition to I-1631: What part of “Utility” don’t you understand?

Clallam PUD Sides with Petroleum Industry in Opposition to Carbon Initiative

by Andy Cochrane, President, Power Trip Energy | Oct 3, 2018

The Clallam PUD board of commissioners has taken the step of publicly opposing Initiative 1631, citing increased operating costs and higher gasoline prices as reasons for opposition.  Clallam County PUD officials say the carbon fee initiative would increase the district’s annual fuel and shipping costs by $20,000 in 2020 and by $51,000 by 2035.  Clallam PUD’s revenue is about $75 million per year, so the initial $20,000 projected increase in 2020 amounts to approximately 0.027% of the PUD’s revenue.

PUD Commissioner Simpson also reportedly was concerned about negative impacts to the PUD from a wider adoption of electric vehicles.  “There’s impact on any utility of upgrading their system to accommodate the charging of batteries for electric cars,” Simpson said.

We suggest the PUD Commissioners look at the migration from gasoline to electricity as major transportation fuel as an opportunity to increase PUD revenues and decrease money leaving the community through gasoline expenditures.  No gasoline or diesel is created in Clallam County, whereas there are over 750 roof top solar arrays producing clean electricity.  Expansions in electrical generation will result in positive local economic activity and prevent money leaving the community for polluting fossil fuels.  The increased revenues can be re-invested in our public electrical infrastructure.  The PUD’s job is to help navigate to a more advantageous position in a cleaner future, not to oppose any change due to fear of increased costs without a vision of the benefits of capturing more of the energy economy locally.

We see many benefits of cutting out petroleum and carbon based industries, while capturing those revenues locally and building a cleaner future.  This is the reason we stand with hundreds of businesses, tribes, unions, and faith-based organizations in favor of 1631.  Learn more about this initiative here http://yeson1631.org

Why is Clallam PUD siding with the petroleum industry in opposition to a carbon fee?  Could they better represent their ratepayers by focusing on the most beneficial way to move forward toward a cleaner future?

Also of interest:

Exposing the oily lies of the oil industry

Union of Concerned Scientists debunks false claims of the I-1631 opposition

WA Budget & Policy Center debunks opposition’s outrageous cost estimates

Comprehensive analysis by the Sightline Institute

Analysis by sustainable energy engineer Greg Rock

1631 would keep billions of dollars from bleeding out-of-state

Bill Gates: Why I’m for Washington state’s carbon fee

Olympian editorial: If not now, when?

Debate on I-1631 on KING-5 TV

Issues Plague Industry Study on 1631

 

 

 

The laws of thermodynamics…beyond the power of the veto

One might say the melting is like weeping,
glacial tears upon the cheek of the sea.
Our lament is an embarrassment;
no excuse can set us free.
Memories of ancient times slipping through our grasp;
what once we thought forever has now become the past.
–OCA member Brian Grad

Rise for Orca and Climate Justice

* Part of a National day of observance sponsored by 350.org.
Prelude to the Global Climate Summit
being held in San Francisco September 12-14

* Beach Party, meet and greet, potluck/picnic

* Kids activities all day long

* Story telling and music

* Orca Vigil

* Kayaktavists Invocation ceremony asking protection for our waters and Orca

* Featured speakers: Ken Balcomb, Center for Whale Research.
Eric de Place, journalist, researcher
on fossil fuel impacts to Puget Sound, Verner Wilson of Friends of
the Earth, Gavin Wukttken of Point Defiance Zoo.

* Evening program at Elwha Klallam Heritage Center. Multi-media
presentation of The Road To Athabasca. A chronicle of an epic
bicycle journey along the route of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
401 E First St. Port Angeles. Doors 6:30. Show@7pm

This event is free. Please RSVP here so we can add our numbers to the overall count of people who are gathering on this day for Climate Justice internationally.  You can also keep up to date on this event on our facebook page.

#2 Final---12x18-Poster---Rising-for-Orca-&amp;-Climate-Justice---8-16-18-new-proof copy.

Bill McKibben: To slow down climate change, we need to work together

Confessions of a Monkeywrencher

Leonard Higgins explains why he broke the law to protect the climate

“My hope is that more and more of us, including this court, will see and feel the emergency and pull together to demand immediate changes to reduce our carbon emissions and the other responses needed to avoid the worst.”

Leonard Higgins gave the following testimony at his sentencing hearing after being convicted of trespass and property damage, in conjunction with an action on October 11, 2016, in which five activists, dubbed the Valve Turners, turned off all four major tar sands pipelines in the U.S.

Confessions of a Monkeywrencher

NOTE: Olympic Climate Action does not condone civil disobedience involving property destruction, and our publication of his courtroom statement is not meant as an endorsement of Higgins’ actions. Here is OCA’s policy on non-violence:

We use non-violent means to achieve change. We are committed to nonviolence, inspired by the spirit of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and other peaceful protesters before us. We believe that this approach, eschewing violence and property damage, offers the best means of creating lasting progress toward a just and healthy world.

A Plea for Initiative 1631

by volunteer Don Steinke, with the Washington State Sierra Club:

Can We Save Civilization As We Know It? A Plea for Initiative 1631

We’ve waited thirty years for Congress to act on global warming. We’ve waited enough. Some scholars are saying it is too late to save civilization as we know it, but I believe for the sake of our children we are obligated to do everything possible to save what we can. There is probably nothing more important you can do right now than to pass Initiative 1631.

Initiative 1631 will place a fee on large corporate polluters, such as refineries and power plants, and use the funds to invest in clean energy projects such as wind and solar while mitigating the impacts to low income households. We currently send billions of dollars out of Washington State each year for natural gas, coal, and oil produced in other states as well as Canada. Initiative 1631 will keep some of that money here to invest in local clean energy production.

Let’s get this initiative passed for jobs and clean energy!

A climate game of chance–literally

Developed by the Thurston County Regional Planning Council:

http://www.trpc.org/844/Resilience-Road—Board-Game

Declaration of Independence from Fossil Fuels

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary to dissolve our dependence on fuels that have driven so much human development, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that we should declare the causes which impel us to the dissolution.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all people are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. –That to secure these rights, governments are instituted and corporations are chartered, deriving their powers from the Consent of the People.  –That whenever any Form of Government or Corporation becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to reorganize these institutions in such form as most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Prudence dictates that institutions long established should not be changed for light and transient causes. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations evinces a design to reduce the People to poverty, sickness, insecurity, and death, it is their right, their duty, to throw off such a system and provide new guards for their common security. The history of the present power structure is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of a tyranny of the Few over the Many. Let these facts be submitted:

  • Big Oil, Gas and Coal corporations have known for decades that their extractive industry, if left unchecked, would doom our common future with extreme weather, melting ice caps and glaciers, global sea level rise, ocean acidification, diminishing food and water supplies, forced migration, damaged physical and mental health, and a progressive unraveling of the very bonds of Civilization.
  • They have plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and captured our Governments.
  • They have continued to seek untrammeled Profit over the over the health and welfare of the People, endeavoring in every manner to manufacture doubt and mislead the People about the consequences of their activities, using their vast Wealth to skew the Body Politic into confusion, apathy, distraction, and even self-destructive support of their very Oppressors.
  • And they have known that those who will suffer first and most from these ravages will be those who are most innocent of the damage: the poor, the flora and fauna of our earth, and our future generations.

In every stage of these Oppressions we have petitioned for Redress, stating the facts well studied by our best minds and lately observed all over our Earth. Our repeated Petitions have, unfortunately, been answered by repeated injury and a turning away from these Truths so inconvenient to our Oppressors. A wielder of Power whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to hold sway over a free people.

It is against such Corporate and Governmental abuses that we, the People, join forces in common purpose to end the dirty-energy era and bring about a just transition to a future based on clean energy and economic opportunity for all rather than the few. We call for action now to complete this transition within a few decades at most, but we must start in earnest and with all due speed.  There is not a moment more to lose. We urge Governments of all States to say no to fossil fuel infrastructure, to deny permits, certifications, and other regulatory approvals for further extraction, transport, processing, and combustion of these dirty fuels, and to accelerate investment in renewable energy.

We therefore, in the Name and by Authority of the good People of this Earth, solemnly publish and declare our intention to become independent from fossil fuels and transition to clean, renewable energy. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the rectitude and necessity of our Purpose, we mutually pledge our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

We’re in deep

Even conservative pathways to capping rising temperatures at 2 degrees Celsius suggest industrialized nations should start reigning in carbon emissions by 10 percent each year before zeroing them out entirely by mid-century; even that scenario assumes we’ll be able to deploy so-called negative emissions technology at a global scale, despite the fact that those technologies remain untested at scale. Without negative emissions, the deadline for decarbonization comes much sooner: 2026 — eight years from now.

Kate Aronoff, The Intercept

Should Houston sue the oil companies?

Should the oil capital of the world take oil companies to court?

 

Opinion: Clallam PUD should encourage sun power

“We have three (Clallam PUD) districts and three commissioners elected to that office. In the case of Clallam County, they are elected for six years. That is a long time to hold a public office. It is enough time to become complacent, to not rock the boat, to not stay abreast of the times, to forget the greater good.”

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/letters/letter-clallam-pud-should-encourage-sun-power/

Clallam County considers climate action

At their work session on 2/12/18, the Board of Clallam County Commissioners discussed a resolution proposed by Commissioner Mark Ozias for Clallam County to take further steps to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

Clallam County residents are urged to communicate with their Commissioners about this resolution. Public comment of a general nature is taken at the end of Tuesday weekly Commissioner meetings, which usually end in the late morning; or you can write to them at commissioners@co.clallam.wa.us.

Michael Clemens, who facilitates OCA’s Climate Action Planning committee, made this comment in support of the resolution at the regular Commissioners meeting on 2/13/18. If you’d like to join Michael’s committee, contact us.

BackgroundOCA presented these recommendations to the Clallam Commissioners on 5/1/17:

Clallam County should renew its commitment to climate action in several ways:

  1. Take steps to adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change, as the Board of Commissioners committed to in Resolution 27 of 2016.
  2. Take steps to minimize emissions of greenhouse gases, as described in the Board of Commissioners’ adopted Climate Action Plan of 2009, and broaden the approach to address the carbon footprint of the county as a whole, not simply County government.
  3. Include means for priority-setting, evaluation and adaptive management.
  4. Encourage cooperation among multiple players in the county, including cities, Port, PUD, College, tribes, as well as Jefferson County, perhaps using the North Olympic Development Council as a vehicle.
  5. Move forward via a combined effort of County government, other entities, and committed citizens.
  6. Look for innovative and integrated approaches to addressing climate change, by addressing community resiliency, public safety, energy, transportation, future infrastructure needs, economic development and other challenges together.

“Natural” gas…”the dirtiest of all”…

Opinion: Monetized foreign policy leads to climate change

From OCA member Bob Vreeland:

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/letters/letter-monetized-foreign-policy-leads-to-climate-change/

Block the Gates – “No LNG in 253″

OCA members participate in the Lock-Down demonstration at the Port of Tacoma Liquefied Natural Gas terminal construction site on December 18, 2017.

By OCA member Michael Clemens

On Sunday the 17th and Monday the 18th, the Puyallup Tribe sponsored a protest of the unpermitted LNG terminal in the Port of Tacoma. 350.org and many other groups were present to support the demonstration. Three activists from the North Olympic Peninsula car-pooled to Tacoma in support: Ed Chadd, Debra Ellers and myself, all three of us clad in orca suits and representing the North Olympic Orca Pod that Debra organizes. (They are still recruiting more pod members—see the NOOP Facebook page for more information.)

Arriving at the Tribal Youth Center Sunday evening, we were welcomed and fed, then briefed on the next day’s action. Accommodation was made for sleeping and we all got as much rest as you can before a big action! Monday morning we arrived at the LNG terminal before dawn to find every gate into the fenced construction site blocked, and the street leading to the main entrance made impassable by the demonstrators. Because it was a work day, some folks had to leave early. However, other arrivals filled the ranks and there was a continuous presence of at least 200 demonstrators. All sides in this action–demonstrators, police and workers–were civil with each other. As one tribal member put it, “We kicked butt today!”

On a personal level, I found a new appreciation for the spirit, commitment and bravery of our indigenous brothers and sisters in arms. Their straight talk about sustainability and care for the Earth is heartening. I am especially impressed with the spirit that comes through their songs, and I would recommend participation in future events to anyone who wants to do some good for the planet and for their own souls as well.

Columbia Generation Station

Columbia Generating Station

Columbia Generating Station

At the last OCA meeting, Phil Lusk gave a talk about the costly electricity we buy from the Columbia Generating Station (CGS), a nuclear power plant located near Richland WA. Phil’s analysis indicates that this nuclear-energy facility, owned and operated by Energy Northwest, is subsidized heavily, to the tune of $1.64 billion by 2028. Phil stated that we are paying too much because of this power plant’s high production costs.

He stated that U.S. wastes as much as 30% of the energy it buys, and improving energy efficiency by using LEDs and ductless-heat pumps could be a more cost-effective solution than buying this costly electricity. He also stated that our local share of CGS’ subsidy is enough to buy every local resident a ductless heat pump by 2025—a far more efficient way to “produce” the energy, and a way that keeps the money in the local community.

The Bonneville Power Administration, which buys the power from the CGS, pledged to assess its economic competitiveness in 1998 but has never done so. It is time for BPA to honor its pledge, and conduct the CGS market test using a public process.

Check out Philip’s slide show here.

https://www.northwestenvironmentaladvocates.org/newblog/northwest-nuclear-plant-costing-ratepayers-billions/

Will Humanity Survive the Next 50 Years Of Climate Change?

Dr. Veerabhaadran Ramanathan (Distinguished Professor-Scripps Institution Of Oceanography, UC San Diego & UNESCO Professor Of Climate & Policy, TERI University, New Delhi, India) discusses the possibility that climate change could lead to human extinction in the next 50 years. What can we do to fight global climate change before it gets too late?

50 inches of Harvey

The home of a former City of Sequim staffer near Houston. A Mustang Shelby in the garage is just over 50" high...

The home of a former City of Sequim staffer near Houston. A Mustang Shelby in the garage is just over 50″ high…

This Harvey was no six-foot invisible rabbit.  This Harvey dropped four-feet-two-inches of rain on millions of Texans in less than a week.

When that many inches of rain land in your community in one storm, you can bet on a flood of tragic proportions.

In Texas, 1 million people evacuated and hundreds of thousands are without power, water, and/or have significantly damaged homes.  (Commentary: Although the Gulf Coast is prone to hurricanes, only 20% of Texans have flood insurance.)

You don’t need to be told that we’re very lucky in this regard here in Sequim.

50 inches is three times the average rainfall for Sequim per year—and thirty times larger than our typical large storms.

When Sequim gets 1.5-2 inches of rain in 24 hours, we see flooding.*  The infiltration systems can’t absorb that much water that quickly and what isn’t absorbed either ponds where it lands or flows into irrigation ditches and creek channels.  But within a few days, our porous soils have soaked up flood waters.

Continue reading

More Tanker Traffic in the Strait?

tankerIn a letter to the editors of Peninsula Daily News, November 6, 2017, Brian Grad wrote:

Oil tankers have delivered North Slope crude for decades through the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and although that history hasn’t been spill-free, we’ve come to accept that traffic, governed by federal law, as an acceptable risk.

Would it be acceptable if tanker traffic increased sevenfold, from one a week to one a day?

That could happen if Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion brings Alberta tar-sands oil across the Canadian border to Puget Sound, destined for export to Asia, according to Canadian media reports.

Tar-sands oil is a heavy crude that must be diluted with lighter oil to flow in a pipe.

If spilled on the water, the diluent will evaporate, but the heavy crude will eventually sink, endangering habitat for crabs, bottom fish, shellfish, salmon, even orcas, according to an article in Scientific American.

Our local economy is at risk, too, not just from a spill but from the idea that this is not a healthy, safe place to live.

Think about the Deepwater Horizon.

All of us can play a role in stopping this pipeline: Ask big banks like Wells Fargo, Chase and US Bank to stop financing pipeline projects and put their money into something less risky.

Dollar for dollar, clean energy creates more jobs than fossil fuels, and solar panels and windmills won’t leave a mess on the beach.

If the banks don’t get the message and continue to profit at our risk, it’s our option to divest and put our money in banks that don’t fund future oil spills.

You have a choice.

For more information, see oly climate.org.

Brian Grad,

Sequim

Grad is a member of the executive committee of Olympic Climate Action.

Think about it: heating up?

Column in the Sequim Gazette by local columnist Bertha Cooper:

http://www.sequimgazette.com/opinion/think-about-it-heating-up/

Personal Consumption Choices and Capitalism

Personal Consumption Choices alone Can’t Save the Planet: We Have to Confront Capitalism itself.

Planting seedlings at Crescent

To stave off disaster, we must transform the economic system driving climate changeBy Kate Aronoff

State & local leaders: It’s time to commit

Bill McKibben writes in the latest Rolling Stone magazine:

How to Tell If Your Reps Are Serious About Climate Change

In the wake of Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, how serious are your elected leaders about fighting back?

Trump’s “low-energy” thinking on energy

Oppose Kinder-Morgan pipeline to protect our water and climate

Letter to the editor from OCA member Lisa Dekker:

“Here in our waterway, ecological and economic interests are one and the same, and this pipeline project absolutely must be stopped.”

http://www.peninsuladailynews.com/letters/letter-trans-mountain-pipeline-expansion-evidence-of-fossil-fuel-industrys-desperation/

While Feds fail, locals step up

President Trump’s withdrawal from our country’s commitment to the Paris climate accord has engendered both dismay and determination around the globe, and here on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic Climate Action has joined that chorus.  Around the country, groups are now calling for their state and local governments to fill in the void of federal leadership by committing to meet the goals of the Paris accord.  Members of Olympic Climate Action have worked for more than four years to educate North Olympic Peninsula communities regarding climate change, and we have seen our Peninsula governments respond with serious efforts undertaken at the tribal, county, and city levels to incorporate sustainability into their operations and come to grips with the challenge of climate change.  While there is more work to be done, we want to take the opportunity at this critical point in history to applaud these local efforts and commit ourselves to facilitate them in any way we can, to, in the words of the Preamble to the United States Constitution, “secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”

We invite concerned individuals to join OCA’s Local Climate Action Planning Committee to help move these efforts forward.  Contact us at https://olyclimate.org/contact-us/.

Here are some links highlighting Peninsula governments’ actions to protect us from climate change:

Climate adaptation grant for North Olympic Peninsula

Sequim adopts sustainability resolution

Port Angeles adopts climate planning policy

Clallam commissioners adopt climate change work plan

Ozias commits to climate action

Climate activists & Peninsula officials react to Trump’s pullout from Paris

Jefferson County/Port Townsend Climate Action Committee

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe study of climate impacts and adaptation

On Paris accords, remember first-world nations had head start on exploiting fossil fuels

Letter to Peninsula Daily News from OCA member Bill Marsh of Port Angeles:

When President Donald Trump told us June 1 of his decision to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement, he referred to how China and India were less limited by it than the U.S.

Our president conveniently seemed to forget that the agreement was an attempt to be fair to countries that have not had a century or more lead time in exploiting fossil fuels, as we and Europe have.

I haven’t forgotten.

I hope readers won’t either.

 

Climate activists & Peninsula officials react to Trump’s pullout from Paris

This Peninsula Daily News story in the wake of Donald Trump’s announced withdrawal from the Paris climate accord includes reactions from OCA members, the Local 20/20 sustainability group in Port Townsend, and officials from Clallam County and the Jamestown S’Klallam, Quileute, and Quinault Tribes:

https://www.peninsuladailynews.com/news/peninsula-reacts-to-trumps-decision-to-pull-u-s-from-paris-climate-accord/

Pushback from cities, CEOs

187 leaders of cities around the country representing more than 50 million Americans have signed a pledge to stand by the Paris Accord

Major company CEOs voice criticism of DT action

A short while ago, unpopular President Trump stood in the White House’s Rose Garden and addressed a group of very old wealthy white men. He told them that they would be able to squeeze a little more money out of poisoning the earth and, fingers crossed, would all die before the earth burned up.  Walter Einenkel

Legislators: Put a price on carbon now

By unanimous agreement at our meeting of 5/7/2017, we have sent this letter to our state legislators:

Senator Kevin Van de Wege

Representative Steve Tharinger

Representative Mike Chapman

Washington State Legislature

Dear State Legislative representatives from District 24:

Olympic Climate Action maintains a membership of more than 600 members from the Olympic Peninsula through email and other social media. Our membership promotes action by government at all levels to both mitigate climate change and prepare adaptation measures. We believe that the single most urgent thing we need to do as a society is to put a price on carbon that reflects its true costs and provides a disincentive for its use. Our membership has been happy to see a number of proposed carbon tax bills under consideration by the state legislature. Each has its pros and cons. In urging your own consideration, we would like to underscore the following concepts:

  • Urgency: Scientists tell us that we have precious little time to waste on converting to a clean-energy economy, and therefore we urge action on a carbon-pricing bill NOW. Economists seem to converge on an initial price at $25 per ton of CO2.
  • Efficacy: Scientists such as James Hansen, former NASA lead climate scientist, also tell us that to set a target that doesn’t risk the safety and well-being of the next generation, we need to aim for 350 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere by the end of the century, and that to hit such a target, we need to reach a 91% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Our carbon pricing needs to aim for that target.
  • Support for mitigation: Use some of the proceeds to actively support the reduction of our carbon footprint through incentives, research, and infrastructure investment.  Explore the creation of a market for forest carbon sequestration.
  • Equity: Assure that those least able to deal with additional expenses in their budgets find relief; that poor communities least able to deal with cope with climate impacts are helped to achieve resiliency; and that workers in dislocated economic sectors are helped to find alternate employment.
  • Integrity: Construct the program in such a way that it does not lead to “leakage” of greenhouse-gas emissions to other states or countries.
  • Accountability and oversight: Ensure that taxpayers’ funds are spent both effectively and efficiently with broad benefits, including implementing the State’s Clean Air Rule.

In addition to carbon pricing, we also support these related initiatives:

  • Oil Transportation Safety (HB 1611) will help address a $3.6 million funding shortfall in state oil spill prevention programs, improve oil spill prevention for Puget Sound, and provide more public input on proposed oil pipeline projects. This is common-sense protection for our communities, and it comes under threat of vastly increased shipping in our waters.
  • The creation of an electric vehicle charging station loop around the Olympic Peninsula.  While such infrastructure will enhance our tourism business, it will also facilitate the conversion by local residents to electric vehicles.  We hope you will work with your colleagues to support General Fund investment in publicly-available electric vehicle charging stations, as well as the maximum allowable funding of EV chargers from the VW litigation settlement.

Please respond with your positions on these topics, or if you wish we’d be glad to meet with you to discuss these critical issues.

Sincerely,

The members of Olympic Climate Action, adopted unanimously at our general membership meeting of May 7, 2017

Climate change is a justice issue

Heat waves that have office workers reaching for the air conditioning will have farm workers facing heat stroke. Rising food prices that hit the rich in the wallet will hit the poor in the stomach. And storms that rattle windows in affluent homes will sweep away poor homes entirely.   –environmental economist Jonah Busch

Trust me! I’m from Exxon!

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.

Upton Sinclair, 1878-1968 (cartoon by Port Angeles artist Jim Fetter)

Oppose a “Climate-Denial Cabinet”

Peninsula Daily News story here
This issue was discussed at the Clallam County Commissioners’ work session on Jan. 17.  One Commissioner, Mark Ozias, pledged to take action on behalf of our community, and deserves our thanks.
At our monthly meeting on 1/8/2017, OCA unanimously directed our Executive Committee to write this letter to Washington’s Senators, urging them to carefully vet the Cabinet-level nominees of the incoming Trump administration, to protect our community from the consequences of failing to act decisively on climate change.  And we’re urging our local governments to write a similar note.
This issue is on the Clallam County Commissioners’ work session agenda for Jan. 17, between 9-10 AM.  Concerned citizens are urged to attend.

It’s up to us to stop these attacks before they can really start. Join us during the first 100 hours of Trump’s presidency to set a tone that we will not stand for any attempts to undermine the fight for justice.

We are quite concerned about the actions to date of President-Elect Trump and his advisors on the issue of climate change, many of whom seem determined to moving the country backwards on climateWe simply cannot afford to move backward:  the consensus climate models indicate that if decisive action is not taken immediately, we will be setting in motion an unacceptable level of climate chaos for decades to come.  We are concerned by a number of facts about Trump’s cabinet-level nominees:

In summary, we are concerned that Donald Trump seems to be putting in place a Climate Denial administration that threatens our very future, and we ask you to do everything in your power to protect our nation and the earth from those who ignore science, risking those they are entrusted to protect.  To send a message to Trump, go here.  And to send a message to the Senate about these nominees, go here.

For more background on these nominees:

The risks of climate change to our local community have been well documented in a recent multi-stakeholder study in which most of our local governments were involved, led by the North Olympic Peninsula Resource Conservation and Development Council—see http://www.noprcd.org/about2.  We simply cannot afford to stop making progress on the transition to a clean-energy economy and on preparing for climate impacts we won’t be able to avoid.  We must all stand up to protect our common future.

Hitchhiker’s Guide to Climate Change

An artistic tour-de-force by local family physician Ned Hammar (notes here):

hitchhikersguidetoclimatechangep2

Back

hitchhikersguidetoclimatechangep1

Front