Category: Climate Emergency & Mobolization

Would you like to help with the April 29 Western Mass Climate Justice March?


If you wish to help with this march, here are some ways:

* Please spread the word about the march, invite people, and make solid plans to show up with  your friends and family on this important day. 

—     Click HERE for the march webpage.     

—     Click HERE for the facebook event.

* If you would like to help organize or volunteer to help setup on march day, please email us at climateactionnowmass@gmail.com

 

* If you are on facebook, please share the event and rsvp/going to the event. 

Here is the facebook event page for the march:     https://www.facebook.com/events/622655164600213

* Financial – a march like this comes with expenses such as port-a-johns and staging.

If you would like to contribute, you can use paypal or a check. 

— Paypal – use this donate button

 

 — Check: please make your check payable to “Climate Action Now”, put “March” in the for line
and mail it to our treasurer  
Rene Theberge, 250 Shutesbury Road, Amherst, MA 01002

 **** Thank you! ****

Columnist Marty Nathan: Saving the world while building community

Published in the Gazette Feb 1, 2017

Columnist Marty Nathan: Saving the world while building community

  • Dr. Marty Nathan, left, of Northampton, speaks during a forum called “Climate Action in a Time of Crisis” Saturday at First Churches of Northampton. Listening beside her is state Senate President Stanley Rosenberg of Amherst. JERREY ROBERTS

    By MARTY NATHAN

I remember the 1962 Cuban missile crisis when I gathered cans of food to store in our carport cabinets in preparation for nuclear war. We were supposed to stock our basements with water and food to consume after the bombs fell and we waited for the radiation to decrease.

Problem was, our house was small and we had no basement and thus no protection. With my 11-year-old brain, I tried to comprehend annihilation of the world as I knew it.

Now in my 60s, the feeling is eerily similar and equally unreal. We are approaching destruction of our biosphere, this time in slow motion but nonetheless terrifying. The cause this time is climate change.

The threat has ramped up dramatically since the inauguration of Donald Trump. His advisers and cabinet picks are fossil fuel company CEOs and shills who are dedicated to drilling and burning every last molecule of carbon left in the ground in order to ensure corporate profits.

This is the opposite of scientific dictates to immediately eliminate emissions to prevent geologic and climatologic feedback loops — albedo effect, melting tundra, carbon sink-filling — that will continue the process completely outside of our control.

 

On Jan. 28, over 600 people filled First Churches in Northampton. They came because there is rapidly growing recognition of the crisis. In the past, we could console ourselves that somebody else would fix it, but suddenly a whole lot of folks are realizing that our best resource for fighting this massive peril — the federal government —- is now openly fronting for the enemy.

What are we who love Earth and the coming human generations to do? I think we have several options that will require commitment, courage, time and energy.

Do not give up on the federal government. We must limit the damage from the present regime and fight to replace it with those not promulgating “alternative facts.” Protest the blasphemy and carnage, building a movement that is interlocked with all others suffering from Trumpism: workers, poor people, immigrants, people of color, women, children, LGBTQ people.

Support nationally important legal and regional fights. The repermitting of the Dakota Access and the Keystone XL pipelines is a disaster for all of us and we must be willing to back up the resistance of those whose homes, culture and livelihoods are affected by oil, gas and coal infrastructure.

Put on your marching shoes. On April 29, come to D.C. for the second People’s Climate March, and respond to every invitation possible fighting for climate and justice.

Begin work now for the next critical election in 2018 when we must break the stranglehold that the fossil fuel industry holds on Congress.

Since much is blocked on the federal level, though, organize locally and statewide to make Massachusetts into a model for the rest of the country in climate justice.

Join an organization that is working on what you think is important.

Push locally for rooftop and community solar and insulation, especially for low-income neighborhoods; tree-planting and care; environmentally sound zoning; expanded public transit; streets safe for pedestrians and bicycles; and schools that teach about climate change and environmental sustainability.

Be ready for direct action to prevent the building and extension of fossil fuel infrastructure. We scored resounding success blocking the Kinder Morgan Northeast Energy Direct pipeline last year.

It’s not over, folks. We have in Sandisfield an attempt by Tennessee Gas to build a storage pipeline through pristine Otis State Forest. Destructive, dangerous and unneeded, our resources should instead be spent on conservation and the expansion of renewable energy.

Become a citizen lobbyist to focus the Massachusetts State Legislature on the most important task it has ever undertaken, creating potent laws to stop emissions while establishing a just economy. Many such laws are being introduced right now, calling for rapid transition to 100 percent renewable energy while focusing the derived economic development/green jobs on so-called gateway and environmental justice communities.

Some bills restrict new pipeline building, two would create a carbon pollution fee, some divest state pension funds from fossil fuels, while others formulate funding for new green energy investment. They all need co-sponsorship by our state representatives now to become law. Contact your representative by Friday and ask them for co-sponsorship of all the bills endorsed by Climate Action NOW at https://docs.google.com/document/d/124lTZ7wEqoO7zTD-xKedS8qRLGumoMD4R90fRpFUAi8/edit.

I must repeat: This is the fight of our lives, folks. Through it we can not only literally save the world as we know it, but build community we are proud of.

Marty Nathan, MD, is a mother and grandmother who lives in Northampton and works at Baystate Brightwood Health Center in Springfield’s North End. She is a steering committee member of Climate Action NOW.

12 Point Massachusetts Climate Emergency Plan

12 Point Massachusetts Climate Emergency Plan

With change imminent in national energy policy, states must assume leadership in preventing catastrophic climate disruption. Taking this emergency seriously requires a World War II scale mobilization and a broad and inclusive base of support. Particular attention must be paid to the voices of those least responsible and most affected– the Environmental Justice (EJ) communities. Massachusetts can and should play a leading role by making an emergency transition to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030, with policies implemented by each state agency and involving every energy sector:

 

  1. Accelerate the transition to 100% clean, renewable energy. Create and enforce a comprehensive energy plan mandating the achievement of 100% clean, renewable energy by 2030, relying mostly on solar and wind, with special support for community-based, owned, and controlled energy production.
    1. Require electric utilities to create resilient “smart” grids – both macro and micro.
    2. Require electric utilities to meet accelerated energy storage goals.
    3. Remove caps on solar net metering statewide.
    4. Restore retail net metering credit for community-shared and low-income solar.
    5. Require increased wind procurement to meet 2030 goal of 100% renewable energy.
    6. Increase the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to meet the 2030 100% goal.
    7. Prohibit new nuclear or biomass plants.

 

  1. Incorporate climate justice principles. Climate change puts Environmental Justice (EJ) communities already suffering from environmental hazards at additional risk. They are disproportionately affected by fossil fuel pollution, and they are more vulnerable to rising temperatures and flooding from violent storms.
    1. Ensure EJ communities have a strong voice in all decisions concerning emissions reduction, renewable energy infrastructure, and disaster protection and recovery.
    2. Expand green job training, public transit and employment in EJ communities.

                      

  1. Reduce fossil fuel dependence in transportation.
    1. Require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to plan for an electric transport system servicing Massachusetts municipalities, including rail, bus, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, & complementary bicycle infrastructure; fund it by 2018.
    2. Increase subsidies and incentives for carpooling and EV ownership.
    3. Prohibit sale of new fossil fuel powered passenger vehicles in MA by 2030. Create a buy-back program for such vehicles, & incentives to make replacements affordable.
    4. Require the Commonwealth to “Lead by Example” by prohibiting state and municipal purchase of fossil fuel powered passenger vehicles by 2020.
    5. Implement a clean fuel standard for vehicles unable to be powered by electricity.

 

  1. Reduce energy demand in building and construction.
    1. Require a new “Stretch Code” specifying that all new building be zero-net energy.
    2. Require that all appropriately sited new buildings be solar ready.  
    3. Require energy audits before sale/rental of buildings and display of the energy label.
    4. Increase incentives to retrofit existing buildings to approach zero-net energy.
    5. Require Massachusetts to “Lead by Example” by retrofitting all Commonwealth buildings to conform to the above standards, with benchmarks for progress.
    6. Transition oversight of MassSave to an entity without vested interests.

 

  1. Prohibit new fossil fuel infrastructure.
    1. Prohibit new fossil fuel pipelines, plants, compressor stations, & export structures.
    2. Phase in decommissioning of fossil fuel electricity generation by 2030.

 

  1. Continue alignment of MA investments with 100% renewable energy goals, by divesting the MA pension fund from fossil fuels.
    1. Mandate divestment of state funds from fossil fuel companies within 5 years.
    2. Require reinvestment in local clean, renewable energy.

 

  1. Boost financing for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation.
    1. Use state funds and tax incentives to transition to 100% renewable energy.
    2. Create public/private financing (e.g. Green Bank) for renewable energy, energy efficiency, and conservation projects.

 

  1. Create/expand green jobs and economic opportunity.
    1. Create a comprehensive plan for clean energy technology manufacturing in MA.
    2. Ensure job training and reemployment of displaced fossil fuel & nuclear workers.
    3. Ensure that state programs offering financial incentives for increasing economic opportunity prioritize small, local, green businesses.

          

  1. Accelerate fulfillment of required emissions reduction in all energy sectors. Require monitoring, with accelerated benchmarks, incentives and penalties.

 

  1. Reduce/eliminate methane emissions.
    1. Provide benchmarks, monitoring & penalties for methane leaks from all pipelines, compressor stations, LNG liquefaction & storage facilities. Prohibit charging customers for lost gas.
    2. Provide incentives to reduce agricultural and landfill emissions.

 

  1. Implement a fair carbon pollution fee and rebate program.

Implement a fair carbon pollution fee for wholesalers of fossil fuels, and rebate the fee in an equitable way to residents (especially to low-income residents) and businesses/organizations in MA.

 

  1. Expand statewide public education campaigns to mobilize public support for the rapid energy transition.

Require the Department of Energy Resources to launch a “Make it Renewable, Make it Local, Make it in Massachusetts” campaign to mobilize support for a rapid renewable energy transition, and promote sustainable living and business practices.

 

Click on this link to download the .PDF file:   CAN12pointplan2016-dec-17

LTE Tina Ingmann: Urges everyone to break spiral of climate silence

Urges everyone to break spiral of climate silence

 

I eagerly watched all three presidential debates, hoping climate change might finally burst onto the national stage. I was, of course, disappointed.

Maybe I was naïve to think that companies funded by oil and gas advertising revenue would entertain a discussion on global warming.

The media isn’t alone in avoiding this topic. According to Yale climate communication experts, we are trapped in a “spiral of silence” about climate change. Seven in ten Americans rarely or never discuss it, even though a majority is “worried” or “somewhat worried” about global warming.

After all, who wants to be the wet blanket bringing up such an uncomfortable and complex topic? Climate silence is real. Defense specialists acknowledge climate change as a major security threat; therefore, isn’t discussing it our patriotic duty?

Meanwhile, growing numbers of faith leaders urge climate action as a moral imperative as millions face displacement, hunger, drought, severe heat waves, flooding, wildfires and violent storms.

 
We have almost run out of time to restore a stable climate. The longer we wait to drastically reduce emissions, the more difficult our task. The window to transition to a clean energy economy may be as short as a few years.

Big media is not telling the story, so we, the people must step up. I believe that when enough of us come to terms with the full implications of the climate emergency, our collective outrage will break grip of the bottom-liners who would rather have us passively accept climate chaos as our fate.

 
We must use our voices to resist these forces. Otherwise we might have to tell our grandchildren: “We all knew something was wrong, but no one talked about it, so it didn’t seem urgent.”

Each one of us can take action on climate today by breaking the spiral of climate silence.

Tina Ingmann

(Letter to the editor, published in the Hampshire Daily Gazette  November 2, 2016)

 

Marty Nathan: Responding to climate change emergency we face

 

Recently the Massachusetts legislature passed the long-awaited Omnibus Energy Bill. As a climate change activist, I joined hundreds of others making calls to our legislators to request a bill that would decrease the state’s investment in the acquisition and burning of fossil fuels.

We won some things. There is a good plan to identify and plug methane leaks from our cities’ natural gas pipes. The state is set to acquire 1,600 megawatts of offshore wind power and the bill encourages onshore wind development as well.

In another victory, it did not institute a measure to require electric ratepayers to fund new gas pipelines in the state.

But the bill was emblematic of the gradualism adopted by our political leadership that simply cannot meet the challenge of the climate emergency we are facing.

Our house is on fire, and we are using a teacup to douse the flames.

I do not blame our legislators too much. Meeting the climate crisis, the task that should be the focal point of our thinking and action, requires not responding to all the appeals to continue the status quo. When lobbyists or reporters accuse one of being an alarmist or destroying jobs, charges that could mean defeat at the next election, it is difficult to stand one’s ground.

However, our task now will require throwing off convention and adopting wisdom and courage seldom seen in politics. It means fully understanding the implications of the emergency we face.

In his recent article featured on the cover of the New Republic, climate activist Bill McKibben compares our plight to a new world war waging all around us that we have yet to engage. This time, however, the enemy is not a Hitler or Hirohito plotting to steal resources and land, destroy towns and dominate nations.

Instead, the enemy is climate catastrophe, the physical and chemical product of industrialization and its rapacious mining and burning of fossil fuels. The lethal opponent was created by us humans, usually from the best of intentions, to improve our lives and society.

However, the buildup of greenhouse gasses that resulted has heated our Earth beyond levels seen since long before civilization began, with the rate of warming unprecedented in the last thousand years. “Carbon and methane now represent the deadliest enemy of all time, the first force fully capable of harrying, scattering, and impoverishing our entire civilization,” McKibben writes.

He states bluntly that the war has already begun with heat waves and megastorms, out-of-control forest fires resulting from massive droughts, quickly melting polar ice raising sea levels, decimation of species and new tropically based infectious diseases appearing far out of their traditional range.

As usual with most wars, many of the first victims are those not responsible for the conflict: Those of the global South are most vulnerable and first to be ravaged by such disasters as the Philippines Typhoon Haiyan and the massive Pakistani floods.

McKibben spins the metaphor of the war against climate change, describing scientists clamoring for decades for a massive offensive against the enemy, only to be ignored and abused by this country’s “Fifth Column” – the fossil fuel industry and those in its financial thrall.

The call to mobilizeNow, though, in 2016 we as a nation must realize that all of the isolated climate change-related disasters we have faced add up to our new Pearl Harbor. Consequently, our task is to mobilize for the clean energy and conservation offensive needed to drop the concentration of atmospheric greenhouse gases. We cannot rely on the gradualism of the present system whose apex agreement – the Paris Climate Agreement – will inevitably heat up the world by 3.5 degrees centigrade by 2100.

We must and can enter emergency mode and implement the plans that scientists such as Mark Jacobson of Stanford University have been forming to power 80 percent of the U.S. economy with renewable energy by 2030 and 100 percent by 2050.

To do so requires massive investment in solar and wind energy, about 300 huge factories to produce each in this country. There must be unprecedented growth of public transportation, realistic pricing on fossil fuels (including jet fuels) that reflects their actual social cost, a fracking ban, a prohibition against drilling or mining fossil fuels on public lands (which contain half of the untapped carbon left in America), a climate litmus test for new development projects and an end to World Bank financing of fossil fuel plants.

As a start.

A national conversion of this magnitude was successfully undertaken 75 years ago. What is needed parallels the efforts of 1941 to 1945, when our government invested in building and transforming factories all over the country to turn out the bombers, tanks, guns, uniforms and all the equipment necessary to fight the Nazis and Japanese. War bonds, Victory gardens, gasoline and food rationing cards, Rosie the Riveter and the draft affected all of society as it converted to wage the war.

Though McKibben does not say so, much of the investment necessary for today’s gargantuan undertaking can and should come from the $600 billion yearly military budget. It would make ironic sense, since the military is the most carbon-intensive institution in the country.

Despite what the deniers and gradualists say, such a publicly funded conversion would not mean loss of jobs. To the contrary, the fossil-fuel-based economy is less job-rich than a green one, by about two million workers, and in general those green jobs would pay more and be less dangerous than those in gas, oil and coal.

As a society we simply cannot afford to pursue the present course. The damages already wrought in the U.S. by the western drought, superstorms Katrina and Sandy, the recent Louisiana floods and all the lesser climate change-based disasters are costing tens of billions of dollars, with much more inevitable in the near future. If we are afraid of losing money and jobs, the present approach is a debacle.

It is time for each of us, individually, to respond to the climate emergency, assess our lives and become engaged in fighting the greatest threat of our times.

As a start, we have a unique opportunity to involve ourselves with the elections taking place this fall. We need to campaign and to demand that our politicians submit neither to the denial nor the gradualism that will mean climate defeat. We must engage our political leaders and persistently show them we support only bold action and comprehensive approaches that will swiftly convert us to clean energy.

We have to impress upon them that piecemeal approaches are no longer acceptable in this historic struggle.

Marty Nathan, MD, lives in Northampton and writes regularly on environmental issues. The first part of her essay appeared Wednesday and can be found on GazetteNET.com.

Marty Nathan: US mobilized for WWII, why not now for climate?

Tuesday, September 06, 2016
First of two parts

My husband’s grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Europe. He told me the other day, “Thinking about what is coming I feel like I am in Berlin in 1938.”

Visionary environmentalist Bill McKibben refers to the same era when he compares our situation in the summer of 2016 to the danger faced by our country in 1940 as Germany invaded country after country and Japan expanded menacingly in the Pacific.

They are both using World War II to refer to present-day peril. The arrival of the consequences of climate change in the last year has become agonizingly obvious to anyone who both understands science and is not financially or politically bound to the fossil fuel industry.

No surprise to us in the Pioneer Valley: July 2016 was the globe’s hottest month on records kept since 1880. According to climate change experts, three out of four extreme heat days can be tied to global warming.

Fifteen of the 16 highest monthly temperature elevations have all occurred since February 2015.

California’s Blue Cut Fire joined other extreme wildfires to destroy tens of thousands of acres in California, “with an intensity that we haven’t seen before,” according to local officials. Most experts attribute their fury to the five years of severe drought caused by climate change.

The waters are finally receding in Louisiana after one of the most deadly floods in history. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has classified this disaster as a “once in every 500 years event.” Astoundingly, though, it is the eighth such never-in-a lifetime storm to have occurred in a little more than 12 months.

Summer Arctic sea ice is at its lowest since records began over 125 years ago, 22,000 square miles of ice disappearing each week.

This summer unprecedented coral bleaching – the damage to coral reefs caused by elevated ocean temperatures – is stretching across the Indian and Pacific oceans, meaning death to ocean species upon which we depend. A quarter of the Great Barrier Reef has been affected.

In the last decade we have witnessed an accelerating tempo of climate change-caused natural crises occurring around the globe. The buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly carbon dioxide and methane, has warmed our world so rapidly that the resulting disasters no longer surprise us or even hold our attention for very long. They have become, if not the new normal, at least not such a big deal, unless it is our house or our family that is lost.

It is an unfolding climate emergency. Recent events are telling us, if we are paying attention, that the lives of billions of people, millions of species, and perhaps civilization as we know it, may be lost in the coming decades to ascending global temperatures and the droughts, megastorms, sea-level rise and social disruption and warfare that are already beginning to accompany it.

We have known about the threat of climate change for decades, yet many things have prevented us from taking the steps necessary to stop its inexorable progress. The most deliberate and criminal culpability belongs to the fossil fuel and automobile industries which, with their representative politicians and media mouthpieces, knowingly suppressed and defamed research on climate change that, if acted upon 40 years ago, would have translated to a much better chance of salvaging a livable planet.

However, a culture of combustion-based ease and material surplus has affected all of us in the global North, and that has in turn affected the possibility of survival not just for our grandkids, as we used to think, or for our kids, but for ourselves, sober scientists would now tell us.

We really do not have much time left, much less than we used to like to think as we climbed into jets for a week’s holiday in Los Angeles or Miami.

What does it mean to face a climate emergency? It is a question that I challenge you, if you have managed to read this far, to ask yourself.

It absolutely does not mean panic. Panic does not accomplish carefully considered policy and lifestyle change. Panic leads to desperation and despair and chaos, worse than useless in such a crisis.

Climate emergency requires focus, eliminating a whole lot of the extraneous details of our lives and our society and convincing and working with everyone available to change very quickly the political and economic policies of our country so as to drastically cut our carbon emissions. This reorientation must occur at every level, from the personal to the national.

How far must emissions be cut? The agreements of the Paris Conference last year are not sufficient to prevent our global temperatures from rising above 2 degrees Centigrade in the next few decades. We must go beyond them and as soon as possible reduce our country’s emissions to zero. Research shows that that can be done, that we have the technology and the resources. What we have not had before now was the will.

Back to re World War II analogy: on the national level we have historical precedent in this country’s emergency response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. Seven decades ago, as the United States entered the war that had been raging in Europe and the Pacific, it faced formidable, seemingly undefeatable enemies. The nation was completely unprepared for the military effort that was necessary to fight Fascism. Yet remarkably, within months the economy was transforming to produce the materials necessary to fight on two fronts. It required the alteration of all sectors of the economy and society, accomplished with a political singlemindedness that has not been seen since. It is that same type of laser-like focus and dedication that will be required to implement a rapid redirection of industry to renewables and conservation in order to meet the climate emergency.

Without that approach, we will be party to the commission of an unforgivable crime towards our planet and its occupants.

On Thursday: How to respond to the climate emergency.

Marty Nathan, MD, lives in Northampton and is a regular contributor on environmental issues. 

 

Emergency = Action!

We are in a climate emergency. We are using our grave concern as fuel for action.  We are a grassroots, people-powered organization.  We do not have members; we have people who join in to help when they want to do so.  We usually have several areas that people are working on at any time.

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