Sunday, October 25, 2009

that's why a bear can rest at ease.

Obama pushes for coal

Finally Barack Obama takes a break from health care reform and shouts a holler to energy legislation...of sorts.

On Friday, Obama spoke at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology on energy and the environment, and called for “the best use of resources we have in abundance, through clean coal technology, safe nuclear power, sustainably grown biofuels and energy we harness from wind, waves and sun.” full article

Wow. Wait to start with a bang. "Clean" coal and "safe" nuclear?

Naturally, The Colonic is not surprised, seeing how Mr. Yes We Can rejected FOIA requests for Secret Service logs revealing the identities of big coal executives visiting the White House.

Can we be fair and say that Obama is pulling the strategic political strings by touting clean coal and nuclear, and tacking on renewables at the end?

Maaaayyybbbeee. But probably not. Change We Can Believe In handed the FDA over to Monsanto, attempted to suppress the democratic process of FOIA requests to hide his meetings with coal companies, and has done nothing of substance in to merit a leadership role in time for Copenhagen.

campaign viability: the cost of coaliton-building and casting a wide net

Campaign strategy presents a terrible conundrum: how wide can you cast your net before you start to repel your original campaigners?

Coalition-building is a good-faith attempt to strengthen the movement. Obviously, a minority of people will have limp impact. So here we go, re-framing our issue to appeal to different life perspectives and interests.

The benefit? Bigger numbers, more money, more interest, more impact. The cost? There is potential for the message to become diluted, modified, redirected, or otherwise misrepresented.

Exhibit A: Me.

Yesterday I participated in a Washington DC event for the International Day of Climate Action (I somehow thought this would be bigger and better than VA Power Shift--I was wrong, and sorry). Aside from the fact that I rolled up to extremely disappointing numbers (I'm guessing the thunderstorm was a large deterrent for many), the only speakers that I was able to stomach really angered me.

The first offense was relating the climate and environment to a biblical story. Wherever the delicate line is--appeal to the theists without offending the secular-minded--was definitely crossed.

Aside from pulling the religious card, the next offense is harder to articulate into words. Statements were thrown around such as "love is the solution...blah blah blah...start the revolution." GAG ME.

Yes, my interest in the environment is motivated by a love for life, but ultimately, my goals and passions are pragmatic. I am at this event for a very specific reason--public attention, networking, and political mobility--and I do not appreciate counting rainbows in the sky instead. It gets nothing done (maybe it motivates some?), and it's off-putting to the more goal-oriented, objective participants.

Sorry, love is not the solution. It's offensive to say that people who don't recycle or don't actively try to reduce their waste don't love. Lots of those people even love me.

The solution is recycling, reducing, reusing, eliminating waste, getting organized, and staying organized.

I suppose my main problem with the event is that I felt it was misrepresenting the real goal by dressing it up in some Noah hoo ha and fuddy duddy love junk--both of which are not all-inclusive perspectives. I felt silly being there. That is not why I care about the environment. Those statements do not motivate me. In fact, they prompted my departure. I do not care to participate in things that misrepresent me and my beliefs.

Of course, I suppose casting a wider net may deter original campaigners at some point or another, but if those original campaigners were ever truly dedicated, they are not going to up and leave. Instead, they create their own individual strategies and are more likely to cherry pick and criticize when appropriate.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

step up for Kuwaiti women

Kuwaiti women will be able to obtain their own passport without the consent of their husbands, following a ruling by the country's constitutional court.

Women activists welcomed the passport ruling but say they still need equal access to government housing and the right to pass citizenship to their children. full article

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

hot news on the cooling climate

Not much time tonight folks (what else is new?) but I thought I'd drop a quick link to address the climate cooling murmurings. Relatively stable temps are more complicated than they appear:

Scientists say the pattern of the last decade — after a precipitous rise in average global temperatures in the 1990s — is a result of cyclical variations in ocean conditions and has no bearing on the long-term warming effects of greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere.

...Mojib Latif, a prize-winning climate and ocean scientist from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at the University of Kiel, in Germany, wrote a paper last year positing that cyclical shifts in the oceans were aligning in a way that could keep temperatures over the next decade or so relatively stable, even as the heat-trapping gases linked to global warming continued to increase. full article

Monday, October 19, 2009

recycling is so last season.

Biodegradability, so hot right now.

As the difficulty in securing a landfill permit is rising, it makes more sense to compost your food and use biodegradable and/or reusable containers/items where possible.

Read more about the zero waste movement.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

the EPA to strengthen Clean Water Act enforcement

Since the EPA has been under heat recently for NOT punishing tens of thousands of violations of the Clean Water Act in the past 10 years, it's trying to make a comeback and vow for better enforcement.

The agency has not settled on a list of potential targets, but is likely to focus on mining companies, large livestock farms, municipal wastewater treatment plants and construction companies that operate sites where polluted stormwater has run into nearby lakes and rivers.

...One witness described the impact of those lapses. Judy Treml, of Wisconsin, told lawmakers that her 6-month-old daughter was hospitalized after drinking water that had become contaminated when a nearby farm covered its land with manure, which then seeped into her family’s well. One of the problems, lawmakers said, is that such pollution often goes unpunished or is outside the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act. full article. full article

Thursday, October 15, 2009

tell your senators to protect a strong EPA in the climate bill

"I urge you to take the pledge to vote only for a climate bill that retains the EPA's ability to regulate CO2 and doesn't give massive subsidies to the coal industry. This is a rare opportunity to stand up for our planet, and we cannot afford a bill that is too weak. Please stand up for a strong climate bill and take the pledge."

Sign the pledge

Adam's Morgan gets vegan pizza!

So...I hate Adam's Morgan. But now I think I'll go because Duccini's now has vegan pizza! If you're in the DC area, you should check it out.

Shout out to Compassion Over Killing for working with Duccini's to add veg-friendly options to the menu.

Monday, October 12, 2009

victory for farm animals and meat eaters in Michigan

Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a bill into law today that will extend "modest but meaningful" protection to farm animals. Michigan Humane Society reports:

HB 5127 phases out veal crates for calves within three years, and battery cages for laying hens and gestation crates for breeding sows within ten years. The state has more than ten million laying hens, approximately 100,000 breeding pigs, and is ranked by the Cattleman's Beef Board as a top veal-producing state (no official numbers are available). full article

On the one hand, farm animals will experience better (emphasis on better) treatment. On the other hand, giving animals room to minimally stand up, lie down, and turn around and extend their limbs means that an omnivore's future dinner is less crammed up against its feces, wading in bacteria and the like.

B.T. dubz, the bacteria becomes even more delicious when animals are wading in the feces of other animals. Mmmm, cross-contamination. gets better...your ground beef most likely contains flesh from thousands of cows that have been joined together by one factory-farming, meat industry mish-mash grinding splooge machine.

The skeptic reading my post says, "but we're not all (immediately) ill. It can't be that bad."

Well, lucky you...your splooge meat is treated with a chemical antibiotic McFlurry of nastiness. But there are no warning labels anywhere for you to read.

For more info, check out Food Inc.

Schwarzenegger makes moves in LGBTQ legislation

Schwarzenegger signed 3 LGBTQ rights bills into law, despite heavy pressure from anti-equality mongers. Equality California sums it up:
  • The Harvey Milk Day bill, authored by Senator Mark Leno, will honor the slain civil rights leader with the nation’s first “day of special significance” for an openly LGBT person in the country;
  • The Family Protection and Marriage Recognition Act, also authored by Senator Leno, underscores that same-sex couples married out of state are entitled to full recognition in California, and
  • The LGBT Domestic Violence Programs Expansion Bill, authored by Assemblymember John A. PĂ©rez, will expand funding for LGBT domestic violence programs in California.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

feeding your mental health

This article embodies the spirit of one of my favorite quotes, "Food is the foundation, but it's really about life"--FRESH the movie.

What we put in our bodies is about much more than just "eating." The New York Times reports:

Eating a Mediterranean-style diet — packed with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, olive oil and fish — is good for your heart, many studies have found. Now scientists are suggesting the diet may be good for your mental health, too.

...Over time, those who had scored between 5 and 9 on the Mediterranean diet were 42 percent to 51 percent less likely to develop depression, the study found, than those who scored between 0 and 2. full article

As a vegan, I can tell you that the way that I eat has definitely changed more than my pantry. Aside from experiencing an increase in energy, conscious eating with an awareness of where my food comes from has added more mindfulness and happiness to my life. Yes, I will kiss a perfect tomato when I find one, take pride in the color combination of my chopped vegetables, make scrumptious wholesome foods for friends and fam, and smell my whole grains before I eat them. And since this transition, I am a more balanced, more peaceful and less stressed person.

I could get technical and list studies of how overhauling dietary lifestyles can modify misbehavior in children, but it's really late for me, so feel free to google that one.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

more water contamination

For this post, I will lay off of the coal industry and its contamination of water, and instead focus on weedkillers.

Atrazine — a herbicide often used on corn fields, golf courses and even lawns — has become one of the most common contaminants in American drinking water.

For years, the E.P.A. has decided against acting on calls to ban the chemical from environmental activists and some scientists who argued that runoff was polluting ecosystems and harming animals.

Atrazine in drinking water has been associated with birth defects, low birth weight, and reproductive problems. The EPA will announce Wednesday whether new evaluations of links between atrazine and cancer are necessary, and whether restrictions should be modified. full article

the silver lining of the economic crisis

The New York Times reports
As a result of the economic slump, global emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, are expected to decline by 3 percent this year, the steepest drop in the 45 years according to figures compiled by the agency. That compares with an average growth of 3 percent a year over the last decade. full article

Thursday, October 8, 2009

weightism and politics

Is the New Jersey governor's race using weightist undertones as a new campaign strategy?

Opinions differ on whether or not incumbent Jon Corzine is taking jabs at opponent Christopher Christie's weight. The ad says that Christie "threw his weight around" to get out of tickets, and shows Christie "stepping out of an S.U.V. in extreme slow motion, his extra girth moving, just as slowly, in several different directions at once." full article.

Bottom line: weight is a socially acceptable form of discrimination (along with, I'd say, regional accent). Are commentators projecting weightism onto the ad, or is "he's fat" really the implied message? You decide.

VA Power Shift details

Great news! The VA Power Shift planning process is moving right along, and it's going to be an awesome weekend. Although the official site has not been updated with confirmed speakers and workshops, here's some panels/workshops that you can expect:
  • campaign planning
  • working as a coalition
  • structures for smooth leadership transitions
  • event planning/fund raising
  • history of environmental justice
  • mountain-top removal
  • population growth and reproductive justice in the developing world
  • lobbying
  • VA state level politics
  • and way way more
  • Did I mention we're having a nonviolent direct action on Sunday?
  • Keynote speakers have not all been confirmed, so stay tuned.
Within short time, the exact schedule will be posted online, so you can pick and chose when you would like to come if you're on a tight schedule.

REGISTER HERE. Also, group discount rates are available for groups with at least 15 people (email me and I'll get your group hooked up). Individual registration is $20, but PLEASE EMAIL ME if you are having financial difficulty and we can work something out.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Obama, thanks for nothing

Oh, fab:

President Obama's top climate and energy official said Friday that there was virtually no chance Congress would have a climate and energy bill ready for him to sign before negotiations on a global climate treaty begin in December in Copenhagen. full article

I can't blog right now because I am too emotionally charged and will resort to obscene statements. But, when I come back, it's high time to discuss "health care reform" v the environment, and get a few things straight.

In the mean time, go register for your Power Shift Regional Summit.