FRED KRUPP OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
What’s it going to take to turn the corner to a safe and stable climate? People power and market power. That was my main takeaway from a whirlwind week in New York City.
That pairing may seem odd, since some have fallen into the habit of dividing the climate community into “outsiders,” grassroots activists who demand action, and “insiders,” policy advocates who seek to correct market failures (such as the absence of a price on carbon) in order to harness the power of the marketplace to drive change. But many climate change advocates, myself included, were busy doing both last week—and both are absolutely essential to the climate solutions we need.
I began the week at the People’s Climate March, one of an estimated 400,000 Americans who took to the streets of New York City to make an urgent call for climate action. It was thrilling to see so many people—including Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) members and staff from around the country—gather for a demonstration that was both peaceful and passionate. Tuesday morning my EDF colleagues and I hosted a meeting of officials and experts from China and the U.S., and later that day I spoke at the United Nations about the urgent climate threat posed by unchecked methane pollution, then shared ideas for restructuring global energy incentives with international leaders.
It was fitting that all of this began with a protest march, since motivating the public to demand action is absolutely necessary if we are going to prevail against the opponents of climate action. It was, by all accounts, the largest rally in the history of the climate change movement—even before you include the 2,600 smaller gatherings taking place in 166 countries around the world.
AKIRA WATTS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
appearance on 60 Minutes to talk about the ongoing efforts against ISIS. The quote that everyone is focusing on, of course, is Obama’s admission that they “underestimated ISIS.” The right is predictably working itself into a fine froth over this. Had we only carpet bombed everything back in 2013, the Middle East would now be a virtual utopia and nothing would ever go wrong in the region again. Personally, I don’t find the president’s admission to be a huge shock. Given that our last president had a bit of trouble thinking of a single mistake that he might have made, ever, it is refreshing to hear Obama utter words along these lines. I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the actions we have taken, as we try to correct for our underestimation, what with the unforeseen consequences crawling out of the woodwork, but still, it’s nice to hear some acknowledgement of our fallibility.Sunday night President Obama made an
Which is why the bit that does irk me is the following gem:
“America leads. We are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has. Our military is the best in the history of the world. And when trouble comes up anywhere in the world, they don't call Beijing. They don't call Moscow. They call us.”
If that statement were a vehicle, it would be a Hummer with chrome-plated bumper nuts. It’s belligerent. It’s remarkably tone-deaf, coming from a man whose words are typically finely crafted. And it is, yes, stupid. There is a truth in it – no denying that. Given the amount of money we pour into our military, it certainly has the capacity to bomb, shoot, and generally wreck vast swathes of the world. We have enough nuclear weapons to ignite the Earth’s atmosphere. Our capacity is huge.
We are freaking awesome.
STEVEN JONAS MD, MPH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, supported by 97% of the scientists world-wide concerned with the wide variety of related matters, has concluded, and reported with an ever-increasing sense of urgency, that massive, anthropogenic changes in our climate, due to global warming and the associated acidification of the world's oceans, are underway. If they not reversed, soon, major irreversible changes in life on Earth will take place over the next century or so, with many species, including possibly our own, either not surviving or being reduced greatly in numbers. That is, in a century or so the Earth will be frying and drowning at the same time. At the same time, we are told by the vast majority of scientific opinion that the process can be significantly slowed down and then hopefully stopped --- if major actions to reduce the anthropogenic production of Greenhouse Gases and related pollutants are taken now.The science of anthropogenic global warming/climate change is quite clear, and has been for quite some time. It is supported by observational evidence, such as the massive melting of sea ice, Antarctic ice, and the glaciers. Indeed, the data and reports of the
But right now, that seems unlikely, unlikely at least at the levels at which such actions would need to be taken in order to be effective. And who is standing in the way of that process? Why the Global-Warming/climate-change Deniers, of course, virtually all of whom are or were or will be connected to the fossil fuels and related industries in one way or another. They are a tough bunch. And so, I should think that, even if they are wrong (and they most surely are), they will want the world then to know who they were now. If the frying/drowning process does occur, I am sure that they would want to be known far and wide as the folks who were responsible for those outcomes. And so, I propose that they be given their very own Hall of Infamy, so that down the road, whoever is left can readily identify those who were responsible for their plight.
HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Okay, so we had this historic march a little while ago.
...joyous, beautiful, exhilarating, inspiring, life-confirming...and in many ways turning point.
Now that the dust has settled a bit, we can see that it will change things for a long time to come.
It proved to ourselves and the world that we have a huge, diverse, broad-based movement. And that we can put aside our differences and all get along when we have to.
We are our species' ever-evolving immune system. We are the survival instinct that must defeat the corporate profit motive.
We are also part of a mighty activist stream that's campaigned for peace, civil rights, social justice, workers' rights, women's rights, gay pride, election protection, No Nukes and so much more.
We've endured the circular firing squad and want it abolished.
JANE STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
in favor of Truth and Justice, my home town of Berkeley hasn't been very radical at all lately. In fact, the city has pretty much turned into a Yuppie paradise and a developer's dream. But, boy, Berkeley has still managed to somehow put its foot in the lion's mouth!Despite all of its vivid past history of enlightened protests
The ABA has taped "Vote No on Measure D" posters on almost every one of our lamp posts, has hired friendly ladies to hand out "Vote No on Measure D" fliers at our flea market -- and has begun distributing large numbers of "Vote No on Measure D" T-shirts, fliers, billboards, push-polls and mailers that follow us everywhere we go.
The American Beverage Association has spent $300,000 on its campaign against Measure D so far -- and apparently has another $200,000 more yet to spend. Its minions come and bang on our doors. I dare not even answer the phone any more!
The American Beverage Association has gone total beast-mode on Berkeley.
JEFF BIGGERS OF ECOWATCH ON BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Reckoning at Eagle Creek: The Secret Legacy of Coal in the Heartland, I found myself sitting in the front row of an Illinois Environmental Protection Agency hearing in southern Illinois. It was a historic evening in Harrisburg, only a few miles from where Peabody Energy sank its first coal mine in 1895, and a few blocks from where I had sat on the front porch as a kid and listened to the stories of my grandfather and other coal miners about union battles for justice. For the first time in decades, residents in coal country were shining the spotlight on issues of civil rights, environmental ruin and a spiraling health crisis from a poorly regulated coal mining rush.Four years after the publication of my memoir/history,
The total destruction of my family’s nearby Eagle Creek community from strip-mining was held up as their cautionary tale. The takeaway: Strip-mining more than stripped the land; it stripped the traces of any human contact.
“We have lost population, we have lost homes and we have lost roads,” testified Judy Kellen, a resident facing an expanded strip mine in Rocky Branch. “We have lost history. We have to endure dust, noise levels to the pitch you wanted to scream because you couldn’t get any rest or sleep, earth tremors, home damages, complete isolation of any type of view to the north, health issues, a sadness in your heart that puts a dread on your face every day, and an unrest in the spirit that we knew nothing of.”
A lot has changed in these four years—much of it troubling, and much of it inspiring.
BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Meet Dr. Willie Parker. He is one heck of a courageous man. Chances are you've never met anyone like him.
He grew up dirt poor in Birmingham, Alabama; as a teenager he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior, and was a "boy preacher in Baptist churches"; he was "the first black student body president of a mostly white high school"; he went to Harvard, became a college professor, and successful obstetrician "who delivered thousands of babies and refused to do abortions."
Dr. Willie Parker had what some might call a second "come to Jesus" moment, deciding "to give up his fancy career to become an abortion provider" -- for the poorest of the poor and the most needy -- at the only surviving abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. These days, he travels a "circuit roughly similar ... to the one traveled by Dr. David Gunn before an anti-abortion fanatic assassinated him in 1993."
Dr. Parker's "name and home address have been published by an antiabortion Web site with the unmistakable intent of terrorizing doctors like him. ...[and] he receives threats that say, 'You've been warned.'"
HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
The most hopeful, diverse, photogenic, energizing and often hilarious march I've joined in 52 years of activism---and one of the biggest, at 310,000 strong---has delivered a simple message: we can and will rid the planet of fossil fuels and nuclear power, we will do it at the grassroots, it will be demanding and difficult to say the least, but it will have its moments of great fun.
With our lives and planet on the line, our species has responded.
Ostensibly, this march was in part meant to influence policy makers. That just goes with the territory.
But in fact what it showed was an amazingly broad-based, diverse, savvy, imaginative and very often off-beat movement with a deep devotion to persistence and cause, and a great flair for fun.
For when push comes to shove---and it has---our Solartopian future will be won one victory at a time.
Oh....yes, yes, yes....we will try to influence the policy-makers. The UN, the Obama Administration, the bought and rented Congress, the usual suspects.
But we won't be begging. It needs to be the other way around.
JANE STILLWATER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
With election time almost upon us, here's a rather sobering thought: By spending as little as a mere two billion dollars, anyone with that amount of money can now afford to buy an entire US election -- Congress, the White House, governorships and all.
"But Jane," you might ask, "why would anyone even want to do that?" Just look at all the immense amount of loot you can score with just this tiny investment. Access to national park lands, bank deregulation, profits from weapons production, corporate monopoly status, pro-pollution laws, judges' rulings in your favor...need I go on?
For instance, eleven trillion dollars has been recently spent on escalating and pursuing US wars. So if you "invest" in American elections and still only receive, say, just ten percent of those eleven trillion dollars.
For your weapons-manufacturing services or whatever the heck else companies like Halliburton do, you still have just grown your measly two-billion-buck investment at least a thousand times over. Forever war really pays off!
ROBERT C. KOEHLER FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Barack Obama's central dilemma last week, when he tried to sell a new war to the American public on the eve of the thirteenth anniversary of 9/11, was to speak convincingly about the wisdom and effectiveness of U.S. foreign policy over the last decade-plus while at the same time, alas, dropping the bad news that it didn't work.
Thus: "Thanks to our military and counterterrorism professionals, America is safer."
Hurray! God bless drones and "mission accomplished" and a million Iraqi dead and birth defects in Fallujah. God bless torture. God bless the CIA. But guess what?
"Still we continue to face a terrorist threat. We cannot erase every trace of evil from the world, and small groups of killers have the capacity to do great harm."
So it's bombs away again, boys — another trace of evil has popped up in the Middle East — and I find myself at the edge of outrage, the edge of despair, groping for language to counter my own incredulity that the God of War is on the verge of another victory and Planet Earth and human evolution lose again.
Obama ended his executive declaration of more war with words that the military-industrial shills have slowly managed to turn into an obscenity: "May God bless our troops, and may God bless the United States of America."
God bless another war?